The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documented at least 10,000 cases of business identity theft in 2017. These numbers may seem small, but the total damage caused by these security breaches cost companies $137 million. Cyber attacks like these can be prevented and the loss of revenue averted, you when you improve your security operations.
Cyber thieves specifically target companies because their systems are easier to infiltrate than individual bank accounts. Small businesses have weak security systems, despite containing sensitive client and employee data in them.
Cyber criminals employ various methods to scam their way into your data banks and steal your business identity.
Stolen Business Data
Corporate identity theft happens when thieves steal a company’s identity and credit information to make several unlawful transactions. Thieves use your company brand, identity, and information illegally in many ways:
- Similar but fake websites to steal information
- Create new credit accounts
- Impersonate your brand for fraudulent purposes
- Steal money directly from you and your client’s bank accounts
Phishing happens when a thief poses as your brand, product, or representative, and lures your clients into contacting them and divulging personal information; they do so through texts, phone calls, and emails. The information collected results in smaller crimes of identity theft and financial loss for your client.
Phishing can also happen through fake websites. An experienced cyber identity thief can replicate your brand’s website and supply it with legitimate information he stole from your employee database. From there, he can fool your potential customers into buying your services or products without fulfilling them.
Your company’s good credit score is also valuable in the eyes of a thief. Your good credit standing might make your business a priority for hackers. They can create new credit accounts with the information stolen from your company, resulting in the potential downgrade of your credit score.
Thieves can also steal money from you and your client’s bank accounts the old fashion way. They can do online withdrawals and make purchases easily since the security measures of most sites only ask for personal information that they’ve already obtained.
Scrupulous individuals with the right equipment and know-how do have multiple means to strip your business of its revenues and reputation. But you can do something about it.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Business
You buy insurance for every other unforeseen situation, from a lawsuit to a natural disaster. In this digital age, it makes sense to invest in cybersecurity insurance. Cybersecurity insurance policies can cover your business for downtime losses as well as reimbursements for legal fees and data loss.
Apart from insurance, your business needs to have a policy in place for data destruction. Once you no longer need files and information, key people should know how to remove data from hard drives, to remove hard drives, and to dispose of e-waste, from monitors to phones. Sufficient destruction of data is part of data protection.
Cyber criminals are turning to infiltrating data banks of companies for easy credit details and information. All kinds of businesses are prone and vulnerable to corporate identity theft. To protect your company from cyber thieves, improve your security measures today. And keep your business safe for the future.