Business ID Theft (Part 2): Public Info, Easy Access

Business ID Theft 101: Part 2 

In Part 1 of our Business ID Theft series, we looked at how business identity theft is much like personal identity theft. Let’s review some key points:

  • Business identity theft and data breaches are not the same. Business identity theft requires the “actual impersonation of the business itself.”
  • Stealing your business’ identity allows criminals to open new lines of credit, bank accounts, apply for loans and make fraudulent purchases in your business’ name.
  • Identity thieves keep coming up with ways around existing protective measures put in place, as well as exploit loopholes in filing processes to carry out their crimes.
  • Business identity theft can ultimately lead to business failure. A study found that 60 percent of victims go out of business within one year.

Now that we understand what business identity theft is, let’s talk about how criminals go about committing it. This type of crime targets certain companies for a variety of reasons. However, the goal for any identity thief is to misuse the information — while remaining undetected — for as long as possible. Thus, criminals have come up with ways to outsmart existing systems in place, as well as create new routes to a business’ sensitive information.

Let’s explore four ways that criminals can obtain your business’ sensitive information and victimize you and your business through business identity theft:

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Public Databases Make Information Too Public

The Internet is the world of free information. Thanks to online public databases, people finder websites and social media networks, we have instant access to vast amounts of information at our fingertips. 

Because the Internet is such an open environment, we rely on it to not only make information immediately available, but to also handle our data securely. Personal information can be used to gain automatic access to certain programs, like using your Facebook credentials to play games or connecting your Gmail account to YouTube and other social media platforms. With the Internet boosting convenience and efficiency, some big information security questions remain:

What information of yours is available on the Internet? Where is it available, and to whom? How do applications use your personal information across different platforms? And, most importantly, how can you remove that information from the Internet?  Continue reading