Top 6 Tips to Prevent & Detect Business Identity Theft

Business identity theft is a crime that companies face daily. A business identity thief will retrieve a company’s identity and use it to obtain credit in the company’s name, much like personal identity theft. They will then go on a spending spree to buy anything that can be sold for cash. The damage can be severe and may prevent the business from acquiring credit in the future. Don’t be stuck in this situation, plan ahead now.

Here are six tips that can help you prevent business identity theft:

  1. Protect your documents – This seems like a simple strategy, but most businesses actually do not do it. You can protect your documents in many ways. For example:
    • Location - Where do you currently keep your company’s documents? We suggest in order to protect your business completely, keep all company documents that contain business identifiers in a safe and secure location that is not accessible to unauthorized employees. Be aware of all people that could try to access these documents and plan accordingly. For example, the cleaning crew, visitors, and customers.
    • Disposal – If you no longer need a document that contains critical business identifiers, use a shredder (cross-cut, confetti cut, or diamond cut) to guarantee full security.
    • Employee Use – Consider using prepaid business credit cards, when issuing them to employees. These cards can be deactivated immediately when needed, you can set purchase limits, and you can even limit the merchants where the card can be used.
  2. Secure all online transactions – Proceed with caution when entering your company information online by making sure the site you are using is secure and its security certificate is up-to-date.
    • How do you know a website is secure? Look at the web address – does it start with HTTPS? The “S” ensures that it is secure. It will also have a padlock icon to the left of the web address. Click on the padlock to reveal the security certificate information and validate that it is up-to-date.
  3. Educate your employees – Don’t assume all of your employees know the latest types of scams out there. Thieves are smart, they are changing their game daily, and it’s hard to keep up. Educate employees about scams via email and online that would give a thief valuable and confidential business information. These include, but are not limited to spear phishing, email spoofing, and spam.
  4. Provide individual passwords to all employees – We know it is easier to have all employees use the same login and password to the programs they use, but we suggest to avoid it. This could lead to an employee gaining access to company information that you do not want them to have.
  5. Monitor your business credit reports – Just like you monitor your personal credit report, it is imperative to keep an eye out on your business credit report, as well. If you see any suspicious activity, act immediately.
  6. Install and update protection – On top of everything we’ve listed above, be sure that all of your business computers have anti-virus and antispyware protection installed. Keep all software and browsers updated with security patches. Though it can be tedious and take time there is a reason software companies send us these important updates.

These tips can improve the overall threat of having your business identity stolen. Make them a part of your day-to-day activities and even include them in your employee handbook.

In the end, keep building your business, but at the same time be sure to protect it. Need help with monitoring your business credit? Get, manage, and monitor your company’s credit report here.