Business Fraud Identity Theft Prevention Checklist

The following business fraud tips will help you to protect your business, your employees, and your customers from becoming victims of identity theft.

1. Create and follow a business fraud security strategy in your business plan.

a. Designate a top level manager to implement the plan if you become a victim.

b. If you need assistance in designing a plan, enlist an expert.

2. Protect your business records on file with the Secretary of State by taking the following steps:

a. Assign a trusted person to be responsible for maintaining and monitoring your business record with the Secretary of State.

b. Sign up for e-mail notification about changes to your business record.

c. Note your renewal/reporting dates in your business calendar and file the renewal/report on time.

d. File any changes to your business in a timely fashion (such as address, registered agent, name changes, or other changes.)

e. Periodically check your business details on the Secretary of State’s website.

f. If changes have been made without your permission or knowledge, report the business fraud to the Secretary of State immediately and correct your business record.

g. Dissolve your business on the Secretary of State’s website if you determine that you will no longer be doing business. However, do not unsubscribe from e-mail notification in order to monitor the business record for unauthorized activity.

3. Report any lost or stolen credit cards immediately to law enforcement and the credit card provider.

4. Monitor your accounts and bills and immediately report any suspicious activity to the originating company.

5. Protect your EIN (employer identification number), account numbers, and other personal information.

6. Create and follow a policy for carrying, using, and reporting a lost or stolen business credit card.

7. Inventory documents that you maintain:

a. Store only those documents you must keep, and keep them in a safe and secure location.

b. If you plan to discard documents, shred them using a cross cut or “confetti” shredder.

8. Treat the personal information of your customers and employees with as much concern as you would treat your own.

9. Do not share any sensitive information in e-mails or on any Web based service.

a. If you must share sensitive information over the Web, check that the website is secure by looking for “https” in the website address.

10. Provide employees with a safe and secure location to keep their personal items (wallets, purses, car keys, etc.) while at work.

11. Store employee information such as personnel files, tax, and payroll information in a secure location to avoid business fraud and limit the number of people who have access to these files.

12. Use passwords to protect sensitive information.

13. Avoid creating “master” users who have complete access to all of the business’s sensitive information.

Business Fraud Identity Theft Checklist for Victims

Resolving issues caused by business fraud identity theft can be a time-consuming and challenging process. The following tips will help you if you are a business fraud victim.

1. Remember, you are the victim. You are not to blame for the crime.

2. Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency.

3. If you need support, contact the State Attorney General and request the help of a Victim Advocate.

4. Immediately contact your bank(s) and credit card provider(s) and report the theft.

5. Contact the largest credit reporting agencies and speak with their business fraud departments to report the crime and view your business credit report.

o Dun & Bradstreet: 1-800-234-3867

o Equifax 1-800-525-6285

o Experian 1-888-397-3742

o Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

6. Place a fraud alert on your business accounts.

7. Compare your EIN with the EIN of the hijacked business and report any differences to the credit reporting agencies.

8. Contact your business creditors and billing companies, and notify them of the criminal activity perpetrated in the name of your business.

9. Contact creditors where fraudulent accounts were opened, and request copies of all documentation used to open or access the account(s).

10. Go to the Secretary of State’s website and correct any fraudulent information by filing a Statement of Correction.

a. Attach a copy of a police report and letter from law enforcement, prosecutor, or legal counsel that verifies the business fraud identity theft.

b. Contact the Secretary of State’s Business Division, describe the identity theft, and ask to speak with a supervisor who will assist with correcting your business information.

11. Document contacts, including names, titles, phone numbers, and extensions. Include the names and numbers of all law enforcement officers you contact. If you are transferred a number of times, ask the person you eventually speak with for a direct phone number.

12. Follow up all calls with a letter (with a return receipt). Also, follow up and make sure that agencies or institutions have received all documents that they need in order to assist you.

13. Maintain information. Do not throw away files related to the business fraud identity theft. Keep all notes, correspondences, print outs of e-mails, copies of reports, and other documents in a secure and accessible file.

14. Monitor your credit report and your business record with the Secretary of State regularly.

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