Corporate Identity Theft: Understanding and Preventing It

By: Paulwilcox
Personal identity theft has been prevalent since the start of the Information Age " every year thousands of people report credit cards or bank accounts being accessed by unauthorized people, making fraudulent transactions that cost large sums of money.

This crime has now extended to corporate identity theft. Just as the name suggests, corporate identity theft is the misuse of a companys identity for personal use.

Corporate identity theft comes in several forms: using a business name on an online merchant account, finding sensitive information in trash bins, hacking into a corporation's website to steal or corrupt date, or designing a website with a similar domain name to steal traffic that would have gone to the legitimate company.

Taking Preventive Measures

All of these forms of corporate identity theft are preventable through various measures.

Careful maintenance and security of your website is most critical. Most identity theft takes place online. Have IT staff monitor website access regularly, and include an email address on the home page for end users to report any unusual occurrences. For example, there have been cases in which a company website was hacked and pornographic material distributed through it. This company's professional image was tarnished by this act. Also, regularly check for domain names that are similar to yours, or be proactive and purchase commonly misspelled variations of your URL.

Another cause of rising corporate identity theft is that of misplaced paper documents. Misplaced hard documents are another cause of rising corporate identity theft. Shred all paper documents to percent sensitive data from being stolen.

Finally, secure your computer networks by regularly updating virus protection software, strengthening firewalls, adware and spyware blockers and changing passwords periodically. Develop a policy about Internet use and talk with your employees about it. By surfing the Internet during work hours, your employees may be putting the integrity of the company at risk by accessing sites with spyware or adware.

Consider these guidelines and you will ensure the greatest chance of avoiding corporate identity theft. Criminals are always scheming up ways to infiltrate your organization, no matter how secure you are. Remember that computer software and company policies are fallible. Keep your methods of protecting up to date and be vigilant about protecting sensitive material.
Identity Theft
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