Business or Commercial Identity Theft
How to Detect & Take Legal Actions
Business or commercial identity theft is a type of fraud that occurs when someone steals a business’s identity or information to commit illegal activities, such as opening credit accounts, applying for loans, filing tax returns, or making purchases. Business or commercial identity theft can cause significant financial losses, damage to reputation, and legal liabilities for the victimized business. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft received in 2021. In this article, we will discuss how to detect and take legal action against business or commercial identity theft.
What is Business or Commercial Identity Theft?
Business or commercial identity theft occurs when someone uses a business’s name, address, phone number, tax ID number, bank account number, credit card number, or other identifying information without permission to commit fraud. Business or commercial identity theft can take many forms and involve different types of perpetrators that can include any of the following:
Cybercriminals who use hacking, phishing, malware, ransomware, or other cyberattacks to steal business data and credentials.
Insiders who use their access to secure business data and systems to steal or misuse information.
Competitors whose sole purpose is to steal business information that provides them with an unfair advantage in the market.
Customers wishing to commit fraud against the company or any of its clients. who use stolen business information to commit fraud against the business or its clients.
Employees of a company who wish to use the stolen business information to commit fraud against the business or its customers.
Business or commercial identity theft can cause various types of damages and losses for the victimized business. This could include any number of things.
Financial losses resulting from unauthorized charges, loans, purchases, withdrawals, transfers etc.
Tax liabilities that occur because of fraudulent tax returns filed under the business’s name.
Legal liabilities because of lawsuits filed by customers, vendors, partners etc.
Reputational damage resulting from negative publicity, reviews, ratings etc.
Operational disruptions that occur because of system failures or data breaches among other things.
How to Detect Business or Commercial Identity Theft?
Detecting business or commercial identity theft can be challenging because it may not be immediately apparent your business has been victimized. However, there are some signs you can look for to detect business or commercial identity theft.
such as charges for products or services that your business did not order or receive.
Unexplained account changes
that might include new accounts opened in your business’s name without your knowledge
Suspicious emails or phone calls
that include things such as phishing emails that ask for sensitive information or robocalls claiming to be from your bank.
Missing documents or records
such as invoices, receipts, contracts, or other information about which you have no knowledge.
Unusual website traffic
such as spikes in traffic from unknown sources.
Complaints from customers or vendors
about account-related activities such as reports of unauthorized charges on their accounts.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms of business or commercial identity theft, you should take immediate action to investigate and prevent further damage.
How to Prevent Business or Commercial Identity Theft?
Preventing business or commercial identity theft is essential for protecting your business’s assets and reputation. Here are some tips on how to prevent business or commercial identity theft:
Secure Your Data and Systems
Make sure your business’s data and systems are secure by:
- Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication for all accounts
- Encrypting sensitive data in transit and at rest
- Installing anti-virus software and firewalls on all devices
- Updating software and firmware regularly
- Backing up data regularly and storing it offsite
Train Your Employees
Train your employees how to recognize and prevent business or commercial identity theft by:
- Educating them on the risks and consequences of identity theft.
- Teaching them how to identify phishing emails and phone calls.
- Instructing them how to handle sensitive information securely.
- Encouraging them to report any suspicious activity immediately.
Monitor Your Accounts
Monitor your accounts regularly for any unusual activity by:
- Reviewing bank statements and credit reports regularly
- Setting up alerts for unusual transactions
- Checking your website traffic logs regularly
Shred Your Documents
Shred any documents that contain sensitive information before disposing of them by in the following manner:
Using a cross-cut shredder makes it difficult to reassemble shredded documents. In addition, shredding all documents containing personal information about your customers, employees and others creates a more secure environment.
Verify Your Vendors
Verify the identities of your vendors before doing business with them by:
Checking their credentials with relevant authorities.
Verifying their contact information with third-party sources.
Checking their reputation and reviews online
Limit Access to Sensitive Information
Limit access to sensitive information to only those employees who need it. You can do this in several ways.
Using role-based access controls to restrict access to sensitive data and systems.
Implementing a need-to-know policy for sensitive information.
Monitoring access logs regularly for any unauthorized access.
How to Respond to Business or Commercial Identity Theft?
If you suspect your business has been victimized by identity theft, you need to take immediate action to minimize the damage and prevent further losses. The following are some steps you can take to respond to business or commercial identity theft:
Notify Law Enforcement
Report the identity theft to law enforcement by contacting your local police department or the FBI; filing a report with the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse; and iling a report with the IRS if your business’s tax ID number has been compromised
Notify Your Creditors and Vendors
Notify your creditors and vendors of the identity theft contacting your bank, credit card companies, and other financial institutions; reaching out to your vendors, suppliers, and partners; and placing fraud alerts or freezes on your credit reports.
Notify Your Customers and Employees
Notify your customers and employees of the identity theft by sending them a notification letter or email explaining what happened; offering them free credit monitoring or identity theft protection services; and finally, providing them with a hotline or website where they can get more information.
Document everything related to the identity theft by keeping copies of all correspondence, reports, and records related to the identity theft; taking notes of all conversations, meetings, and interactions related to the identity theft; and maintaining a log of all expenses and losses related to the identity theft.
Seek Legal Help
Seek legal help from an attorney who specializes in business or commercial identity theft by consulting with an attorney who has experience in business or commercial identity theft cases. When you meet with the attorney, discuss your options for pursuing legal action against the perpetrators and file a lawsuit against them if necessary.
How to Find Legal Help After Commercial Identity Theft Incident?
If you have been victimized by business or commercial identity theft, you may need legal help to recover your losses and protect your rights. This is why you should consider using Legal Yogi, a platform that connects you with the best attorney for your case from a vast network of qualified and experienced lawyers.
Legal Yogi can help you find legal help after a commercial identity theft incident in several ways:
You can get up to four free consultations with an attorney who specializes in commercial identity theft. You can ask questions, discuss your options, and learn about your rights and obligations.
No upfront fees
You don’t have to pay anything unless you win your case. Legal Yogi works on a contingency fee basis, which means that the attorney only gets paid if they recover compensation for you.
You can choose an attorney who matches your preferences, such as location, language, experience, etc. You can also communicate with your attorney through phone, email, chat, etc.
You can trust Legal Yogi will only connect you with an attorney who has been vetted and verified by their team of experts. You can also read reviews and ratings from previous clients to ensure you are satisfied with your choice.
Finding legal help after a commercial identity theft incident can make a difference in your recovery and your future. Don’t let an identity thief get away with their crime. Contact Legal Yogi today and get started on your claim.
Business or commercial identity theft is a serious crime that can cause significant damage and losses for victimized businesses. Business or commercial identity theft can be prevented by securing data and systems, training employees, monitoring accounts, shredding documents, verifying vendors, limiting access to sensitive information etc. Business or commercial identity theft can be detected by looking for unusual transactions, account changes, emails, or phone calls etc. Business or commercial identity theft can be responded to by notifying law enforcement creditors vendors customers employees etc., documenting everything related to the incident seeking legal help etc.