An under-reported threat to small businesses is the theft of the business identity itself. Similar to consumer identity theft, business identity theft occurs when a business’s identity is impersonated. Just like the personal identity theft, it is made possible when a thief, through various means, gains access to the unique business identifiable information that can then be used to create a “synthetic business identity,”. A thief can steal a business’s identity by gaining access to business’s identifiers and credentials, and then using that information to make transactions in the name of the business.
The temptation for thieves is obvious – business purchases generally involve higher dollar amounts; therefore, more expensive purchases are less likely to raise red flags. Businesses also generally have higher credit limits affording thieves a better opportunity to enrich themselves. Small businesses also tend to have minimal security in place to prevent identity theft.
It is imperative that businesses, especially small businesses, protect their data and remain vigilant against the theft of their business identity. Recent statistics show that 1 out of 5 small businesses shut down permanently as a result of cyber attacks.
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