What is corporate identity theft?

Theft of a laptop can open up the possibility of corporate identity theft.

While many connect the term identity theft with the identity theft of a person, corporate identity theft, in which the identity of a company or business – even small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – is stolen, is becoming increasingly common. increasingly common. In some cases, the intrusion is so stealthy that executives are not aware of the problem until much damage has been done. SMBs can be more attractive than people to identity thieves due to larger lines of credit and less scrutiny over how it’s used.

Destroying documents that contain sensitive information can help companies protect themselves from identity theft.

The exact mechanisms for corporate identity theft may vary slightly by country, depending on laws and mechanisms for changing information. For example, in the UK, by submitting documents that appear to be authentic to a corporate registry service, an identity thief can make substantial changes to an organization. This is the mechanism for appointing new directors, changing the director or changing the registered address. With these kinds of changes, the directors themselves will not be notified, and the new directors have, in effect, taken over the company.

Another approach is to create a fake website that appears to match a corporate identity (called spoofing). Through this site, people are hired for jobs with a title like “Account Coordinator” and set up with features to receive payments from “clients”. The real job is to be a money mule for the scammers.

Information that enables corporate identity theft can be acquired by scammers in a variety of ways. The loss of any computer, laptop, netbook or mobile device with company data is a potential invitation to corporate identity theft. Working in public without a privacy screen is another problem. Displaying a commercial license on the wall may be the law, but when it includes the commercial license number and CNPJ, if those items are legible or if someone can take a photograph and enlarge them, the information contained within can be stolen. Considering this when placing the license is a good plan.

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Steps to prevent corporate identity theft include the following suggestions. First, institute a company policy regarding confidential information and how it is handled. Second, make sure security systems are up to date, computer networks have firewalls, and anti-spyware, antivirus, and anti-spam software are all turned on. Make reviewing your business credit report a regular part of your expense review. Invest in a good shredder and shred all commercial paper before discarding it. Also, anyone using a Social Security number as an EIN (Employer Identification Number) must substitute it to lessen the risk.

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