How to Protect Your Business From ID Theft
Suffering identity theft is every internet user’s worst nightmare. But what if identity theft targets a business rather than a private user? Given the money at stake, the possible repercussions are far more severe. But what can businesses do to ensure their data remains safeguarded against potential cyber hacks?
Business ID theft is no small problem. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), business theft cases are up 250% this year alone. To give you an idea of what that means, consider that over 4,000 such cases were logged by the tax service last year, causing $268 million dollars’ worth of damage.
Unless you want to be the next business to suffer data loss through an SQL injection, like 7-Eleven and others were in America’s largest corporate identity theft case, your company will want to get ahead of the game – and fast. With that in mind, here’s all you need to know about ID theft and a survey of some of the best ID theft protection services on the market. Read on to keep the hackers out!
How Cyber-Hackers are Stealing Your Business Information
The ways in which hackers can exploit businesses from ID theft are somewhat more sophisticated than what’s seen in the consumer domain.
For example, while business bank accounts can be targeted (and plundered) just like consumer versions can, fraudsters have also been known to fraudulently file business documents and even use businesses’ tax ID numbers to commit sophisticated forms of wire fraud.
Once hackers have gained access to internal business systems, they will frequently try to fraudulently represent the company to creditors and siphon the money to their personal accounts. In the worst case scenarios, businesses have had their credit rating reduced to tatters and their good reputation destroyed – sometimes overnight.
Get ID Theft Protection Services for Your Business
Identity theft protection services are designed to give your business protection against fraudsters (not to mention peace of mind).
They do this in two main ways.
One is by continuously monitoring information such as credit reports, financials, and public records in order to immediately flag aberrant changes (so-called “monitoring services”).
The second is by providing recovery tools to try repair the effects of identity theft after it has happened. Functionalities offered by the latter include credit report freezing, creditor letter drafting, and personalized advice from subject experts. Here are some of the best providers out there, reflecting a mix of business-specific solutions and those also targeted at consumers.
Advanced Identity Protector is an accredited Microsoft Partner that offers a tool that includes password protection, personal data storage, and credit card protection.
The system can also run a deep scan of users’ PCs to sniff out confidential information that could be leaked to hackers in the event of a breach. Advanced Identity Protector also comes with a “vault” in which users can encrypt potentially compromising data to further hide sensitive information from the eyes of intruders.
It comes with a 100% money back guarantee if users are not satisfied (although there is suspiciously little information about this feature on the website) and is currently available to download for the discounted rate of $29.95.
Operating out of Virginia, IdentityGuard features a well-conceived bundle of tools that can be purchased for $16.99 per month for an individual license.
The software provides daily credit report monitoring from all three major US bureaus, scans public records for name changes, and keeps an eye on the so-called “dark net” to notify of any attempts to register your personal information. The package also includes keylogging software to protect against keystroke interceptions and an online ID vault, for storing sensitive logins.
On the recovery side, the company has an Identity Theft Recovery Unit which can handle canceling credit cards and will even provide an emergency cash advance of $2,000 to hold you over if all cash sources have been overtaken by hackers. According to its refund and cancellation policy, cancellations can be made at any time before the end of the current billing cycle. No money-back guarantee, however, is offered beyond the free trial.
IdentityForce is a Massachusetts-based company that offers identity protection solutions for both personal and business users.
The platform provides ongoing monitor, rapid alerts, and recovery services to protect against all aspects of identity theft.
Its features include advanced fraud monitoring services that provide almost real-time alerts should lenders or government agencies request a copy of your credit credit report, court record monitoring to ensure that unauthorized individuals are not fraudulently assuming the identity of your business in court, and even includes a sex offender monitoring tool to check whether your employees’ identities have not unwittingly been hijacked by a sex offender.
On the recovery side, the company offers identity theft insurance to recoup out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages resulting from identity theft as well as a stolen funds replacement guarantee, which covers up to $1 million in losses. Although pricing information is only provided post-trial, the solution costs in the region of $179.50 per year.
If Your Business is a Victim of Identity Theft
How to behave if you fall victim to identity theft depends on whether or not you are working with an identity theft provider. If you are, our advance is unambiguous: hand the work over to the experts, at least as much as possible. If you’re not protected and managing the process yourself, you should do the following to assist recovery:
- Report the identity theft with the police and appropriate government agencies.
- Notify all financial institutions your business deals with, such as banks, insurance providers, and creditors.
- Notify customers, if you have to.
- Hire an attorney who specializes in business theft.
Prevent Business Identity Theft
If you want to get ahead of the game, you should do the following:
- Use theft protection software!
- Adopt basic IT practices like ensuring antiviruses run on all your company’s computers and that they are behind a corporate firewall.
- Do not disclose any personal or business information to people that you do not know or trust.