Business Owners Prime Targets for Identity Fraud

As previously reported, owners of small businesses are two-and-a-half times more likely to be targeted by identity fraudsters than the average UK resident, according to credit monitoring firm Experian.

The situation is even worse for business owners employing more than 50 people â?? according to the Experian research, they are a worrying five-and-a-half times more susceptible than the average person to this kind of fraud.

The number of cases of ID fraud reported to Experian doubled between 2006 and 2007, reaching over 6,000 in total.

“Fraudsters have a clear motive to pursue company directors,” said Helen Lord, Experian’s director of fraud and compliance. “The financial rewards and lifestyle that success in business brings, plus their profile and the requirement for personal information to be logged in the public domain, means that directors are prime targets for the professional identity fraudster.”

Credit reference agency Equifax said businesses need to be especially vigilant about fraud at the moment.

“Fraudulent activity is a problem at the best of times, but the credit crunch is already putting businesses under increasing pressure,” said Equifax external affairs director Neil Munroe.

“Businesses need to be alert to the risks of corporate identity fraud, which is where fraudsters take the identity of an existing, reputable company with a good credit record by simply altering details at Companies House. This sort of crime is particularly worrying as it not only costs businesses financially but also tarnishes their reputation.”

Equifax gave the following tips for businesses to protect themselves from fraud:

  • Be aware of anyone making unexpected requests for sensitive business information.
  • Store customer and supplier data securely.
  • Shred sensitive documents before disposing of them.
  • Regularly check bank account and credit card statements for unusual transactions
  • .

For more information on protecting yourself and your business from ID fraud visit the Government’s National ID Fraud Prevention website.

© BHP Information Solutions 2008

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