Did you know that in the U.S someone falls victim to identity theft once every two seconds?
In 2017 alone, 60 million Americans were affected by identity theft, with the annual cost of this kind of fraud in the U.S being a staggering $16 billion.
Of course, it is not just individuals who are at risk of having their identity stolen, businesses are just as vulnerable. Plus, if your business does become a victim of identity theft, not only can you lose money, you can also lose your livelihood and the trust of your customers.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take as a business to protect yourself against identity thieves.
Keep reading to find out what they are and to ensure your business stays as safe and secure as possible.
What is business identity theft?
Business identity theft, also known as commercial or corporate identity theft, is when someone or a group of people illegally impersonate a business for criminal gain. Unlike with personal identity theft that only affects an individual, business identity theft can impact your whole business, from your employees to your customers.
It is worth noting that business identity theft is not the same as a breach of sensitive company information or the same as an employee or consumer theft. It directly involves the impersonation of your business.
How can you safeguard your business from identity theft?
Be vigilant of your credit reports
If you want to keep your business data secure, you need to ensure that you are informed and knowledgeable about your company’s credit reports, that way you will be able to immediately notice if something is amiss.
Using biometrics to protect your identity as a business is a highly effective way of keeping yourself safe from increasingly sophisticated online criminals. Using a wide variety of techniques including fingerprint scanners, voice detection, facial recognition and retina recognition, the biometric authentication industry is estimated to be worth a whopping $1.5 billion by 2023.
Stay up to date with digital security practices
This is particularly important for small and midsized businesses that may not survive a security breach of this kind.
Some of the best security practices that you should be adopting include:
- Having robust firewalls
- Securing offsite data storage
- Updating your software regularly
- Installing VPN for outside access
- Having scheduled malware scans
Look out for fake invoices
If you receive any invoice for a service or for goods that you did not order and never received, this should instantly set alarm bells ringing. The same goes for if you receive a duplicate bill that you have already paid.
Beware of unknown wire transfers
One of the more common phishing scams involves someone impersonating a CEO or other senior executive and requesting a wire transfer to an unknown account. If you regularly perform wire transfers or work with vendors overseas, you need to be particularly careful of this.
As a business owner, business identity theft is something that you should be taking extremely seriously.
Do not put off securing your data, as your customers, employees and business will be at risk if you do.
Follow the above practices, stay vigilant, and above all else, be consistent in your efforts.