Fake Business Credit Applications
Criminals know that most business owners are eager to establish more credit for their business
When you want to apply for a personal loan or line of credit, you complete a detailed credit application that provides sensitive personal information that you would not want in the hands of criminals, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, account numbers, etc. Likewise, when your business needs a loan or line of credit, or wants to open a new account, a business credit application is routinely completed. Business credit applications request sensitive business information, such as EIN, account numbers, trade references, etc. that you would also not want in the hands of criminals. Business credit applications also frequently request the personal information of the business owners as well, as guarantors on the accounts. Yet, business credit applications are often received, dutifully completed, and submitted to the requesting party without a second thought.
What if that business credit application is not legitimate?
Thieves do not always need to purchase a business credit report to get the information they need - sometimes unsuspecting business owners willingly send the information to them for free. Business credit applications are commonplace and in many businesses would not raise a red flag, particularly if they appear to originate from a recognized source such as a credit card company, major supplier, or lender. A new line of credit or extended payment terms can be very appealing to a cash-strapped business.
Creating a fake credit application is easy, as is modifying a legitimate form and simply replacing the return mailing address to a criminal's mail drop. If the business owner completes and returns the application without verifying its authenticity, the criminals have all the information needed to defraud the business, or obtain loans or lines of credit in the business' name. The thieves receive the cash or merchandise and disappear, leaving the business and business owner to deal with the mess.