Identity theft is an ongoing problem that can affect anyone. Unscrupulous individuals steal personal information and use it for illegal financial gain, usually to the detriment of the person whose identity has been stolen.
But individuals aren’t the only ones who can be targeted by identity theft. Businesses are also susceptible to identity theft, and business owners should take appropriate steps to protect their interests.
Protect Your EIN Like You Protect Your SSN
Your Employer Identity Number (EIN) has almost the same purpose and use as your Social Security Number (SSN). It’s a unique identifier that can be easily used to impersonate your business.
This is particularly important because people with your EIN can potentially take loans or order goods in the name of your business. They’ll receive money or goods, while you’ll be saddled with loan payments or invoices.
One way to prevent EIN theft is to make sure you only reveal your EIN when necessary. Limit the employees in your business who know what the number is and never post it online. If another business requests it, confirm that it’s necessary, that the individual requesting it is authorized to do so, and that they will protect it as well as you do.
Regularly Check Your Credit Report
Even if you carefully protect your EIN, creative crooks might be able to circumvent your efforts. You might not be able to stop these instances of fraud, but if you can identify them quickly, you can minimize the harm.
Check your company’s credit report often, and if you notice any activity that shouldn’t be there, you should act immediately. This may involve:
- Canceling a fraudulent loan
- Stopping payment on an invoice
- Informing banks of fraudulent activity
- Canceling an order
- Changing contact information for an account
- Canceling an account
In addition, you should gather all of the information you have on the individuals engaging in identity theft and provide it to authorities. Most police investigations won’t go very far, but if an individual commits identity theft repeatedly, your evidence may help get them arrested.
Enroll in a Credit Monitoring Service
Checking your credit report is cumbersome. It’s a lot easier to let professionals do it. There’s a small fee involved with this service, but it’s better to pay a little extra each year than to lose thousands from identity theft.
Regularly Check Your Website
One way that identity theft affects businesses differently than most individuals is through the theft of websites, logos, and trademarks. If someone can get access to your website, they can redirect people visiting your site to other sites.
By using trademarks or logos, they can make it look like their websites are owned by your business. Change passwords regularly and keep a close eye out for copycat sites.
Train Employees to Recognize Phishing
Social hacking is a very effective way of compromising identifying information. Employees fall for these tricks for a variety of reasons. But one of the main reasons is that they’re simply unfamiliar with the tricks that people use to gather identifying information.
A few hours of training with an annual refresher course will increase the security of your business significantly.
What to Do If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
No matter how well you protect yourself, you could still have your company’s identity stolen. When this happens, you should speak to a lawyer who has experience dealing with identity theft cases. If you have been the victim of identity theft please contact the Law Offices of William M. Kolb, LLC in Providence, RI. We can help you understand the best ways to protect your business.