Feed Icon

Businesses of all sizes need to be on alert and to take precautions against identity theft, which involves impersonation of the business or its employees in order to financially harm the business, its creditors, customers or suppliers, or to defraud financial institutions or even the government.

This type of identity theft is attractive to crooks because far more money can be at risk at any given time than with consumer identity theft.

There are some things businesses need to be aware of and do:

- Monitor your accounts at least daily and report any suspicious activity immediately. Online business banking and account alerts allow you have access to your accounts 24 hours a day and alerts can be set to warn you of possible issues. Quick action can minimize financial damage.

- Be aware of your business banking agreements and what your business is required to do when reporting suspected fraud or other problems.

- Use dual controls or multifactor authentication for approvals of electronic payments or wire transfers. Dual controls require at least two people to review and approve transactions. Multifactor authentication, such as the use of tokens, adds another line of protection.

- Watch out for email scams designed to trick workers into sharing important information such as account numbers, tax information or things like passwords. Never click on links or download files in suspicious emails.

- Make sure unusual or large orders are valid before fulfilling them.

- Protect information such as your Employer Identification Number – or EIN – all credit card numbers, customer contacts, and any bank or creditor information.

- Review business credit reports at least annually for suspicious activity.

- Train employees about precautions to take, what warning signs to look for and to report any potential problems immediately.

While this might seem like a lot of work, prevention is far better than becoming a victim of potentially devastating business identity theft.