According to the Aberdeen Group, the cost of identity theft is costing businesses all over the world approximately $220 billion per year. Business owners are at a much higher risk for identity theft, as criminals have started to steal companies' identities and use them in order to acquire credit in the name of various businesses. After these thieves have successfully obtained credit accounts in a company's name, they are able to spend large amounts of money purchasing items including office equipment, gift cards, electronics, and a number of other items that can later be sold for cash. This can cause a company immense damage, and in some cases, it can permanently cripple a business. As businesses struggle to repair the economic damage caused by the theft, further stresses are added by the inability of the company to acquire any additional credit. Furthermore, operations and sales can be significantly impacted while the company or business is stuck trying to clean up the mess and get back on its feet.
Below are a few strategies and tips that will help you to prevent (and detect, if necessary) business identity theft:
Avoid Creating a "Master User" Account: When setting up your company's accounts, do not use the same usernames and passwords for everything. If you choose to use the same passwords, then it will make it far too easy for an outside person (or an employee, in some cases) to gain access to all of your company's information, thus making it very easy for him/her to steal your company's identity.
Create a Protection Plan: While most business owners recognize the value of creating a business plan that is focused on developing company standards and furthering overall growth, it is also important for your company to pay attention to developing a protection plan. Design a detailed, step-by-step plan in order to protect your company's identity. This will also allow you to create an action plan in the unfortunate event that your company's identity is stolen.
Keep Track of all Business Credit Reports: One of the quickest ways in which to detect a possible business identity theft is by monitoring your company's profiles with all of the major business credit bureaus. This can be easily accomplished by subscribing to each of the monitoring services they provide, which will give you access to your files 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also utilize their email alert notifications, which will notify you of any questionable activity occurring in your company's credit files immediately.
Secure Online Information: One of the easiest ways to put your business at significant risk for identity theft is by using sensitive information including account numbers, financial documents, employer identification numbers (EINs), or other personal information in emails or on websites, as it will allow tech-savvy criminals to steal your information. If you need to provide any of this information for some reason, such as on a credit application, you simply need to make sure that the website is completely secure. You should also double-check that the site's security certificate is up to date.
In addition to protecting your company's information on the internet, you also need to make sure that all company's documents are stored in a secure environment. All business documents, financial documents, and other important records should be stored in a safe, secure location at all times. When you have documents that you no longer need to keep, do not throw them in the trash can. Purchase a micro cut shredder so you can ensure that your documents are disposed of in a secure manner. Also, you should never provide your company's bank statements, federal tax identification number, or financial documents to anyone unless you have made sure that they are someone that you can trust. It is also a good idea to consider using a prepaid business credit card for your employees rather than a traditional business credit cards. Using prepaid business cards will allow you to set limits on spending, and you are also able to deactivate the credit card immediately if necessary. So if one of your employees has his or her credit card stolen, you will be able to take action immediately.
Bottom Line: Identity theft is a significant problem that affects businesses all over the world. By becoming your own watchdog on all financial activity within your business, criminals will discover that any attempt to steal your identity will leave them barking up the wrong tree.
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What is your first step? Simply choose which of the following two options applies to your business:ALREADY INCORPORATED in the state of Nevada? 2015/08/15 - Your annual fees increased from $325 to $650, and that’s not including the Commerce Tax if it applies to your business! Further, you will now be required to file your tax return with the NV Department of Taxation with June 30th as the fiscal year, not the calendar year! Review these changes with your tax advisor immediately! If you choose to re-domicile your corporation in another state, MyLLC will file the re-domestication paperwork for you!
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