Steps to Protect Your Business from Identity Theft

Running a business is challenging enough without the added stress of identity theft. You may think of Identity theft as a problem that only targets individuals, but it impacts businesses of all sizes as well. According to PwC’s 2022 Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, 46% of organizations experienced some form of fraud in the last two years. 

How Does Identity Theft Affect Businesses?

Identity thieves can target your business in several ways – by attacking your company directly or targeting your employees. While one method is a more direct attack on your business, both forms of theft will end up hurting your business and costing you time and money.

Examples of Business Identity Theft

There are multiple ways that hackers can use your business’ identity against you. Corporate identity theft scams include:

  • Fake invoices
  • Phishing emails
  • Fake social media accounts
  • Lookalike websites
  • Tax information abuse
  • Trademark ransom

All of these forms of fraud are strategically aimed at gaining access to something – your back account, personal information, and more. Stolen money and information are just the beginning, however. Business identity theft can lead to credit score drops, IRS audit penalties, and a hit to your company’s reputation.

Examples of Employee Identity Theft

There are several different ways that identity theft can wreak havoc on your employees’ personal lives.

  • Stolen debit cards, credit cards, or checks
  • Fraudulent change of address
  • Social security number fraud
  • Passport abuse
  • Drivers license misuse
  • Hacked email accounts

How To Protect Your Business from Identity Theft

Identify theft can happen to anyone, from a single person to a major corporation. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to prevent identity theft. Use the following measures to defend your business and employees from future identity theft attacks.

Add Extra Security Measures

Protect your business by making it harder for fraudsters to access your information. Cybercriminals frequently access a business’s data by hacking into an employee’s personal accounts, such as email or social media accounts. The following steps can help secure these accounts and shield them from hackers:

  • Use multi-factor authentication to log into accounts
  • Regularly change login information
  • Set password policies to dictate password strength and prevent password  duplication across platforms
  • Store sensitive login information with a secure password management system
  • Purchase identify theft protection software. 

Keep Software or Computer Systems Up to Date

A business is only as effective as its infrastructure. Outdated software and other tools can be easy targets for identity theft attempts. Make sure your business has an updated firewall, anti-virus software, anti-malware software, and pop-up blockers. Customer relationship management software and other online tools should be updated as well. If you have any virtual private networks (VPNs), double check that they were implemented correctly for any individuals accessing information offsite.

Train Employees

Educating your employees about potential identity theft attacks is beneficial. Implement cybersecurity training so your employees know what to look out for. Teach employees how to spot phishing emails, scam texts, and other cyber theft attempts.

You should also highlight standard security protocols and best practices such as your password policies, how to set up multi-factor authentication, and more. Finally, let them know how to report questionable messages and other warning signs so that you and the rest of your business can stay safe.

Offer Identity Theft Protection Benefits

While you can take measures internally to defend against data breaches, there’s only so much that you can do to prevent identity theft outside of your business. Your employees are still at risk for data security attacks and stolen identities can still have major impacts on your employees’ personal lives and production on the job.

When you offer identity theft protection for employees it can help protect your employee’s finances, social media accounts, and more during attacks. Identity theft protection also helps employees limit potential damage and quickly resolve the situation.

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