All businesses can be affected by identity theft. Whether you do business with businesses or consumers, taking precaution will alleviate the negative impact it could have on your businesses. Identity Theft can impact a business in two ways:
1- Customers could be fraudulent: Clients can have fraudulent and made up ID cards. Their businesses could be totally made up. They pose as legitimate businesses and create lines of credit. The rest is history.
2- Identity theft professionals can use the owner’s identity and open lines of credit and credit cards and use them, immediately causing debt you as a business owner are responsible for.
Prevention: The only prevention is to pay attention to your clients and if you are a small business watch your credit reports for strange and unexpected activity each month.
Some great due diligence and prevention ideas:
1- Verify the identity of your client by checking social security, driver’s license. You can also use verification products TheCreditBureau.com offers. These products are available to our clients online.
2- If the client is a business and not a consumer verify their address by going online and check the identity of the owner or simply run a business credit report we offer. Please contact us at 800-518-1077 and press option 2.
If you are a consumer and a victim of fraud follow the instruction below to stop the damage:
What to do right away if you are a consumer:
Try and take the following actions as quickly as possible as time is of the essence. The faster you stop the theft the better off you are. If you take the following actions quickly, you can stop an identity thief from doing more damage. Follow these three steps as soon as possible:
1- 90 Day Initial Fraud Alert
Make a phone call to one of the following credit reporting agencies and report the fraud. They will notify the others. Here are their phone numbers:
2- Why should you create a fraud alert?
Thieves have your identity. That means they have your name, address and most likely your social security number. What they will try and do is open new credit cards in your name. Fraud alert stops them from creating new credit cards. You will receive a copy of your credit report from the credit reporting agencies for free. Make sure the reporting agencies have your current address so the reports go to the right place.
3- Credit Freeze. What does it mean?
After the three month initial Fraud Alert you will not be protected by the credit reporting agencies. Therefore, it is wise to freeze your credit report. That means nobody can run your report without notifying you in person. At that time you can release the report to the entity you wish.
Credit freeze stops the identity thieves individuals from opening new accounts in your name. They know about the three month Fraud Alert and they normally wait. Remember and tell the creditors that you have your report frozen. You need to get their name and release the freeze in order for them to see the report. They would understand.
4- File a police report with your local police station.
5- Mail a police report to the credit reporting agencies with an description of the what has happened.
6- Order your credit reports for free from www.annualcreditreport.com
7- Sign up for Monitoring to receive alerts for anything new happening to your report. Click Below to sign up: