My Business Has Been Targeted by Identity Thieves
Business identity theft or commercial identity theft happens when an identity thief uses a businesses’ identity for financial gain.
Not only can business identity theft seriously impact the businesses owners, but also can put customers’ personal information in jeopardy and tarnish a businesses’ reputation.
To prevent and remedy business identity theft:
1. Protect Your Business Records and Sensitive Information:
- It is important to keep records and sensitive information in a secure location. Keep an inventory of the records you have in your possession. If there is a security breach, you will be able to determine what information has been compromised.
2. Do Not Provide Personal Information to Unsolicited Contacts:
- Do not provide social security numbers, personal information, or financial information to someone unless you have initiated the contact and the business or person’s identity has been verified.
3. Use a Shredder to Shred Sensitive Documents Before Discarding:
- Limit the amount of documents and records that contain sensitive information that you gather and store. This will lower the chances that information may be misused or stolen.
4. Monitor Employee Access to Personal Information:
Only allow employees who need access to sensitive information as a course of their job duties the ability to access business records containing personal information.
- Periodically monitor and log employees access to business records containing personal information to look for signs of misuse.
5. Provide a Secure Location for Employees to Keep Personal Belongings:
Employees handbags and wallets contain personal information, if necessary provide a secure place for employees to place these items in the workplace.
6. Review your Businesses Accounts and Bills Regularly:
- If you notice unfamiliar charges and bills contact the billing company. If expected bills do not arrive as usual, contact the billing company.
7. Monitor and Review Your Credit:
- If you notice unfamiliar items on your credit report, contact the credit bureau who provided the report.
If you suspect you have been a victim identity theft:
1. Make a Report to the Credit Bureaus:
|P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
|P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
|P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
2. Contact Your Banks and Credit Card Providers:
3. Close and Cancel Lost or Stolen Credit/Debit Cards:
4. Notify and Protect Your Customers:
- Resource guide from the Federal Trade Commission – “Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business”
- Resource guide from Federal Trade Commission – “Facts for Business”
5. Contact Your State Attorney General Office:
- For more information on how to protect your business and for local resources. You can find contact information for your Attorney General at the National Association of Attorneys General website: www.naag.org, or by phone (202)-326-6000.
6. Report the Identity Theft to the Federal Trade Commission:
- By phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT or visit the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft.
- Creating an Identity Theft Affidavit from the Federal Trade Commission can be very helpful in assisting law enforcement with creating an Identity Theft Report and can also be used at times in place of a police report if you are unable to obtain a report from your local law enforcement agency.
- For more information, visit How to Use an Identity Theft Affidavit.
7. File a Police Report with Local Law Enforcement Authorities:
- You will need an Identity Theft Report to exercise your right to have the fraudulent information removed permanently from your credit report, and to stop creditors and collection agencies from reporting the fraudulent debt to the credit bureaus.
Take a copy of the Identity Theft Affidavit you filed with the FTC to the police to make it easier for the police to write your Identity Theft Report.
For more information, visit How to Use and Identity Theft Report.
Business Identity Theft in the News:
“Identity Theft A Growing Concern For Businesses” by Yuki Noguchi for NPR