You've heard of consumer identity theft - but how do thieves steal and misuse a business' identity? The answers, and the potential consequences for both the business and the business owner(s), may very well surprise you.
To help you understand the crime and the dangers, this section explains numerous common business identity theft schemes and tactics that thieves use to impersonate and defraud businesses.
"What is particularly disturbing about this trend is the significant dollar amounts involved. It's not unusual for the losses to be in the mid-six figures by the time the criminal activity is detected."
Sr. Risk Analyst
Dun & Bradstreet
Criminals manipulate state business registration systems and filing processes to gain control over businesses.
Business bank accounts can be drained in minutes, and victimized businesses can suffer huge losses.
Criminals use stolen business EIN numbers for tax refund fraud and tax identity theft schemes, creating business tax liabilities.
Thieves manipulate business credit reports and financial reports to deceive creditors, financial institutions, and other businesses.
Business identity theft schemes often involve misuse of the identities of business owners and officers, which creates further serious problems for the business and the owners.
Criminals misuse technology and virtual business services to impersonate, appear legitimate, hide their location, and commit fraud.
Business identity thieves mirror the physical address of a business to obtain credit, loans, cash, and goods and services in the business' name.
Thieves use shelf corporations and trade rings to deceive, impersonate, and appear legitimate in business fraud schemes .
Sensitive information is traded and sold on a daily basis through black market websites, secret chat rooms, and underground forums.
Criminals use business identity theft as a multi-purpose tool for a wide array of consumer and business identity fraud schemes.