Man using his computer to prevent business identity theft

Preventing Business Identity Theft in Your Small Business

If you aren’t actively preventing business identity theft, your business is at risk. Not taking basic security measures can leave you open to costly identity crime. A cyber thief can use your business information to perform financial actions under your name. For example, they might use your Social Security Number, credit card, or other personal information to make unauthorized purchases, apply for credit, or gain access to your business banking information.

This crime affects far too many small businesses. Sometimes you won’t even know until you see strange charges on your financial statements. But there are ways business owners can reduce their risk, preventing business identity theft before it happens.

How Business Identity Theft Affects Your Company

Identity theft can impact your company in countless ways, cutting into your operations and affecting your bottom line. Greenwich Associates reports that identity theft criminals stole more than $107 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. A single instance of identity theft can cost organizations tens of thousands of dollars. Moreover, if you fail to protect your customers’ information, it could lead them to renounce any loyalty to your brand.

Could your business withstand such a hit? Preventing business identity theft can be particularly challenging for small businesses. Thankfully, guidance and resources abound to help you. The Federal Trade Commission’s business blog series is a great place to start learning about cybersecurity best practices.

Detecting and Preventing Business Identity Theft

The Better Business Bureau offers warning signs that your business has fallen victim to identity theft. If you …

• Receive bills for credit cards you never opened
• Notice unauthorized charges, transfers, and withdrawals on your bills
• Haven’t received your credit card statement yet. It may have been sent elsewhere.
• Get rejected for a credit card, loan, or mortgage as a result of debts you don’t recall

You can use working capital to support the development of security measures against identity theft. Here are steps that will help prevent business identity theft:

Purchase software. Cyber security isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the investment to keep your business and customers safe.
Secure your website. Protect your website domain with valid security measures. Otherwise, an identity thief could access confidential company information, including compromising consumer data.
Make security updates. This low-cost or no-cost task is a fraction of the time and money you might lose after a cyber attack.
Hire an IT professional. A technical employee can help ensure your business stays ahead of security breaches. Payroll loans can provide funding to help pay this new employee.
Invest in technology and equipment. Equipment financing can help you purchase secure technologies and tools that keep cyber security at the forefront.

What to Do if Identity Theft Impacts Your Business

Even if you are working hard at preventing business identity theft, you may not be able to thwart every attack. After your company faces identity theft, you must work quickly to regain the finances and consumer loyalty you may have lost. The BBB offers these steps to take:

• File a police report and save a copy to show proof to your credit card company.
• Check with your post office to see if your mail is going to an address that is not your own.
• Close your business credit card accounts, if necessary.
• Notify your bank of any unauthorized transfers or withdrawals on any ATM cards, then change your PIN.
• Contact the fraud departments of the different credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) and tell them to flag your file. This prevents an identity thief from continuing to create accounts under your name.
• Get a copy of your credit report several months after reporting the incident. Make sure any fraudulent charges have been removed.
• Release a statement to customers whose information has been compromised. You might offer them free services to compensate for this shortcoming.

Use Small Business Loans to Prevent Identity Theft

The right working capital loan can help you implement strategies to prevent business identity theft. If your business has already been a victim of a cyber security breach, a short-term loan from QuickBridge can provide fast access to cash so you can start working to ensure your business’s safety immediately.

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