Identity theft is a crime that affects over 9 million people and costs over $56 billion to the economy every year, according to the Better Business Bureau. Identity theft impacts consumers around the country, by the stealing of personal information, financial information, credit card information, making purchases based upon this stolen information or by setting up new financial accounts created using the stolen information. However, consumers are not the only targets of identity thieves.
Business identity theft (also known as corporate or commercial identity theft) is a new development in the criminal enterprise of identity theft. In the case of a business, a criminal will steal a business’s identity, hijack a business’s webpage or email account and use that stolen or hijacked information to establish new websites, new email address and new financial accounts with banks or retailers. With these new accounts, the identity thieves will purchase commercial electronics, home improvement materials, 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 victim’s 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.