News 7.1.11

Three Simple Steps to Protect Your Business from Identity Theft

(Note: The information in this article is reprinted substantially unaltered from a pamphlet published by the Colorado Secretary of State dated July 7, 2010.)

by Michael A. Kuzminkski
Business identity theft is a relatively new development in identity theft. In the case of a business, a criminal "hijacks" a business's identity and uses that identity, and the business's good credit history, to establish lines of credit with banks or retailers. Using this credit, the identity thief purchases goods, gift cards, and other items that can be bought and exchanged for cash or sold with relative ease.

The damage can be devastating to the victimized business. The damage to the victim's credit history can lead to denial of credit, which can lead to operational problems. The cost to clean up and correct the damage can be hundreds of dollars and hours of lost time.

In order to better protect your business from business identity theft, the Secretary of State recommends that you take the following initial steps:
  • Subscribe to the Secretary of State's e-mail notification services by visiting the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.stateco.us.
  • Obtain a commercial credit report for your business.
  • Sign up for electronic notifications with your bank, other creditors, and service providers.
  These are your first steps to protecting your business. Your effort should not stop there. If you believe your business is a victim of business identity theft, the Secretary of State recommends that you immediately take the following steps to begin the recovery process:  
  • Report the theft to your local law enforcement agency.
  • Contact all of your business's banks or credit providers and report the theft.
  • Contact the largest credit reporting agencies and speak with their fraud departments to report the crime and view your business credit report.
  For a complete guide and victim checklist, see the Business Identity Theft Resource Guide available at www.protectyourbusiness.us. If you need additional support, contact the Colorado Bureau of Investigation at 303-239-4201 and request the help of a Victim's Advocate.

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