By a large margin, most of the media coverage of identity theft has dealt with fraudulent activity targeting individuals. Nevertheless, identity thieves cause much damage by targeting businesses. In these cases, thieves take out large business loans or open merchant accounts in the names of third parties. In particularly brazen cases, identity thieves open fraudulent branches of existing firms. Though perhaps less fit subjects for sensationalistic news stories, cases of business identity theft drain the economy in a significant way.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to protect your organization from identity thieves. First of all, be sure to shred or otherwise destroy all papers that contain sensitive information. If you do use a shredder, be aware that a confetti shredder is more effective than a traditional strip shredder. On a regular basis, you should take a hard look at your company’s official credit report. Whenever possible, sign up for electronic notification bulletins from your financial institutions. With this safeguard in place, you will receive automatic notification if a fraudster attempts to target you. In the event that a company charge card is lost or stolen, your company should have an organizational response plan in place.

When you learn that your company’s financial identity may have been stolen, much will depend upon the actions you take next. Immediately contact your local police to report the suspected crime. Make sure to file an official police report. Next, get in touch with all relevant financial institutions and bank card issuers. Finally, consult with your credit reporting agencies and file an identity fraud report. If all companies took these precautions, it is almost certain that the scourge of corporate identity theft would virtually disappear. It is never too late to make sure that your company is part of the solution. Remember that unprepared victims of business identity fraud can face bankruptcy and insolvency.