10 Steps to Protect Your Business Credit From Identity Theft

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As the owner of the business, you need to ensure that anything which is related to your operation is very safe. One of the key things that you must always ensure is that any sensitive information about your business never gets into the wrong hands. This includes financial information about your business and your business credit reports. When this information falls into the hands of the wrong people, the normal operation of your business may be hurt in one way or another.

Due to technology, cyber crimes had been on the rise. The cyber criminals have been targeting not only individuals but both small and large businesses. Any business owner who has once experienced a cyber crime will actually tell you that it is one of the things that really torment and may even lead to business closure. How? When a hacker gets access to your personal or business credit reports, they may go ahead and order office equipment not for your business but for their own. This will actually make you pay for things you didn’t acquire. This leads to serious problems for the business on many fronts.

Alternatively, there are other hackers who will use your creditworthiness to convince lenders to supply them with goods for other businesses. What does this mean? A hacker who has a business somewhere will use your business credit status to convince a vendor that it is your new business bearing a different name and so you would like to use the business credit report of the other business to get credit for the new business.

This is a very great risk to your credit rating since you will have to pay for the items and with time it may impact the normal operation of your business. It hurts to pay for something that you don’t even know how it came about and to make it worse, the equipment did not come to your business. ​

As an entrepreneur who wants to stay ahead of any criminal, it would be good to take the necessary measures so as to protect your business credit identity from hackers, thieves or even cyber criminals.

When you take tough measures, any credit information concerning your business will always be safe.

Here is a quick breakdown of ten steps each every business owner should take to keep all their business credit identity safe and unreachable by unauthorized individuals.

Credit Protection Is a Priority

As we all know, credit reporting agencies are the ones responsible for creating the credit report for any business. That being the case, every business owner should actually make sure that the credit status of their businesses is fully protected by the credit agencies. When it comes to this, do not just have one agency working on your credit report, it is very crucial for you to secure your credit report with more than one credit reporting agency. This is because just in case one of the agencies’ databases is hacked, you have a backup from the other which has not been tampered with. 

After doing this, it is also good for you to keep checking the accuracy of your credit report every now and then to make sure that it is accurate. Whenever you detect some malicious figures or some transactions you feel that it is not you who authorized, you should report it immediately to the relevant authority for further investigations.

When you protect your business credit report, you can be sure that really no one can manipulate it for their own good.

Avoid Sharing Your Social Security Number

The use of social security number as an identifier has actually fueled the cyber crimes for businesses in the recent past. Why? This is because many hackers and cyber criminals most of the times know that businesses use the social security number as the business identity number. Once they know that, your financial statements, credit reports, and even other key information about your business may be accessed easily.

This means that you should only give your social security number only to individuals you trust and have confidence in otherwise don’t give it out. Secondly, you should give it only to protection agencies who know their clients’ information as top secret and not accessible to just anyone.

You can protect your social security number by not printing it on checks, bank cards and even stationery, do not use the social security number as a password on any site and lastly keep it very safe and away from any stranger.

Always Shred Your Printed Business Credit Report

it is very common for different business owners to sometimes print their business credit reports time after time. After reading the report, unfortunately, many tend to forget about it and throw it away anywhere; in the dustbin at home or even at the workplace. This is wrong and you should never do it. Hackers have actually known that many entrepreneurs do this and at times they may pretend to be garbage collectors and when they find your business credit report, your business’s financial capacity may be in trouble.

Therefore, it is a very good practice for you to always shred any piece of paper that contains the credit report for your business. Make a paper shredder your friend all the time so that you may tear all the information into very small pieces that cannot be read by anyone.

Check Details of Your Credit Card Statements

The credit card statement contains very key information about how you have been doing in terms of credit. This means that the writing is in the details. One of the ways you can know whether someone has been using your card is by seeing the purchase of items you are not aware of. This actually means that there must be somebody who has been accessing your credit card account details. Another way is by noticing that the balance which is available is much higher than previously. This means that you should pay close attention when it comes to analyzing the credit card statements for your business.

It is also good for you to know that not all cyber criminals will just get access to your credit card and make purchases on your behalf. There are others who are very enlightened in this field and will only charge a few money on all your purchases and make it difficult for you to recognize. Therefore, it is very beneficial for you to analyze every transaction one by one and make sure that they are accurate according to you as the card owner.

Be on the Look Out When Using Automatic Teller Machines

Many of you must be surprised with this but ATMs can actually be used by business credit identity thieves to gain access to your credit statements. Technology in as much as it makes running our businesses easier; it can actually cause very disastrous damage to a business as well. ATMs give us cash, enable us to check our balances and even enable us to make deposits 24/7 without any challenges. However, they are also vulnerable to hacking if you did not know. Hackers can set ATMs to skim cards of every client. When your card is skimmed, the hackers will use a modern device to capture your card’s magnetic strip and therefore get all the debit and credit information about your business. This will actually enable them to make different duplicates for your card for sale. Alternatively, they may also bug the keypads for the ATM machine which they may later use it to commit any credit crime of their choice after acquiring the PIN for your ATM card.

Therefore, business owners should actually stay on high alert after using any ATM for a business transaction. First of all, you should keep checking the accuracy of your credit and debit accounts and if you see any suspicious activity, take the necessary action right away. Always protect your pin when using the ATMs keypads all the time by covering it. This will minimize the stealing of your pin by unwanted individuals and lastly do not use any ATM machine whose keypad doesn’t look right to you.

Shield Your Business Credit Status and Report Online 

As an entrepreneur, it is not good to expose key information about your business online without verifying that the website that you are dealing with or feeding the information to is secured and not vulnerable to hacking. If you have to share information online, we would advise that the information is secure and its security certificate is up to date. Do not just give information to any website that advertises cheap credit rates. The information you give out could be hacked and later used against you in one way or another. Most of the times, the hackers will go ahead and make purchases of their goods using your credit and you will have to pay for the purchases whether you like it or not. If you really want to avoid this, then be very cautious with any website that you share your business information with. Verify that the website is secure and has an updated security certificate.

Stay Away From Master User Accounts

Due to laziness and our quick way of doing things, we tend to use a master account and password for all our business accounts online. This makes it so easy for our financial accounts and credit reports to gain access to the wrong hands. For example, if a hacker gets your master account and password, they have the capacity to destroy your business. Your bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards and other financial information will actually be at the mercy of a cyber criminal. Do not set up a master account and password for your business at all costs. If possible, make sure that any business account online has a different username and password and the account should only by accessible to very few employees if not you alone.

Have Very Few Business Credit Cards

According to financial experts, the less the business credit cards you have, the less vulnerable you are to hacking. This is due to several reasons; when you have very few credit cards, it would be easier for you to detect any frauds with ease compared to when you have several. Secondly, when you have more cards, the higher the risk of identity theft since in case one card gets lost, there is a very great possibility for a business owner to ignore it without thinking of the risk his or her business maybe exposed to if the card lands into the wrong hands. Thus, as an entrepreneur who wants full business credit protection, have less than three credit cards on hand.

Optimal Personal Computer Security

It is obvious that most of us do store all the information regarding our businesses in our computers. When you store the information in your computer, you should beware that hackers can access this information using several ways such as using a virus. When a virus enters into your computer system, it could take the credit information details about your business to hackers whom with time may use it in the wrong ways. This is why it is good for you to make sure that the computer which has all the details for your business has firewall protection, has an updated antivirus software and also has a spyware protection.

Strong Password Policy

It is very unfortunate that most of us tend to ignore the directives we are given by website owners yet it is meant for our own good. If you have to keep your credit report on an online platform, make sure that it has more than eight characters, contains numbers, letters and symbols and the password is changed on a regular basis. With these ten measures, you will be able to protect your business credit identity and keep all hackers and thieves at bay.