The Missing Refund
While almost everyone has a dread of dealing with tax filing season, organized and increasingly aggressive identify thieves are giving business owners a new reason to be concerned. While businesses seldom file taxes for a refund, owners and partners in LLCs have their personal information on numerous corporate legal and financial documents.
According to a recent ABC News report, an increasing number of people attempting to file their tax return are finding someone has already filed a fraudulent return as a part of a case of business identity fraud. Business owners are also seeing direct attacks on their companies, from accessing business banking accounts to establishing fraudulent trade accounts.
The movement from personal identity theft to attacks on businesses is motivated by a number of factors. These include:
- Large balances in checking accounts
- Large credit balances with vendors
- Generous payment terms
- Low levels of security
- Easy access to company information
The net effect of these items is to make business identity theft a new, profitable hunting ground for many blackhat operators.
Assumption of Identity
It is important for business owners to recognize the warnings about personal identity theft are just as relevant to their business, regardless of size. Since a business is actually a legal entity, its identity can be stolen in the same way as that of an individual. If the right information is obtained, the thief simply applies the lessons learned in stealing identities of individuals to business identity theft.
Since most companies extend business credit easily based on such public information as a D&B report, a thief applying for credit in a fraudulent account will often receive prompt access to a line of credit of $1,000 or more. With extended payment terms, it can be 30 or 60 days or more before such a theft is discovered.
From tax filings to trade accounts, businesses of all sizes now find themselves favored targets of identity theft.
Have you heard about the growing business identity theft trend?