What is Business Identity Theft?

Identity theft victims can be individuals – or businesses. Identity theft is a federal crime that occurs when an individual or group steals identifying information and uses it to commit fraud. Information violators can target businesses through the mail or on the web in various forms such as spoof emails, online scams, and fraudulent payments.

Protect Your Business From Commercial Identity Theft

You and your colleagues are the best defense against business identity theft. Here are a few simple tips KeyBank recommends sharing with your team to help protect your company’s data.

Strengthen Online Security for Your Business Accounts

  • Use different login information for each online account.
  • Opt for random, unique passwords with a combination of capitalized and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Birthdays, addresses, and other types of public information are easier for scammers to guess, as are commonly used words such as PASSWORD.
  • Require that employees do not record login information.
  • Monitor online business accounts frequently.

Safeguard Business Identification Information

  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for social security numbers or employee identification numbers (EINs). When sharing EINs, record the request.
  • Keep unnecessary information off business checks such as drivers license numbers, social security numbers or date-of-birth information.
  • Review business credit information at least once a year to check for inaccuracies.

Reduce Commercial Mail and Paper-Related Risks

  • Shred documents before discarding
  • Opt for electronic statements instead of paper statements to reduce the risk of theft.
  • Track billing schedules and credit/debit card renewal dates. If a bill, payment, or company card is late, contact the responsible party to ensure safety.
  • Place outgoing mail directly in official mail collection boxes.
  • Provide a safe place for personnel to store checks, invoices, and receipts.

Report Commercial Identity Theft Immediately

If identity theft occurs, take these steps as soon as possible:

  • Call KeyBank's Fraud Hotline at 800-433-0124
  • Contact the credit bureaus listed below and ask them to put a Fraud Alert on the business's file. This alert requires potential creditors to call a company representative before opening any new accounts:
    • Equifax: 800-525-6285
    • Experian: 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: 800-680-7289
  • File an identity theft report with your local law enforcement agency.

The information and recommendations contained here have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, express or implied by KeyBank, is made as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of the information contained. This is meant as general information only; particular situations may require additional actions.

This document is designed to provide general information only and is not comprehensive nor is it legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. KeyBank does not make any warranties regarding the results obtained from the use of this information.