DOWN TO BUSINESS
A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director
What can I do to prevent my business from becoming a victim of identity theft?
Consumers are not the only ones who need to beware of identity theft; businesses are also at risk according to the Better Business Bureau. The theft may come in the form of forged checks, counterfeit payroll checks, your business name being used for fraudulent purposes or invoices for goods or services you didn’t order and never received.
Some suggestions for protecting your business identity include:
More tips on avoiding business identity theft are available from these websites http://business.ftc.gov/, www.identitytheft.org, www.cfenet.com and www.bbb.org or pick up “The Guide To Identity Theft Prevention” by Johnny R. May or “Identity Theft” by John R. Vacca. Your bank may also have helpful resources for avoiding business identity theft.
If you have been the victim of business identity theft, report any suspected fraud to the police, state attorney general’s office, credit reporting bureaus including Dun & Bradstreet and your bank immediately. The Federal Trade Commission has information available to assist with filing an identity theft report and beginning the recovery process. Retain documentation of all communication regarding the identity theft including notes from phone conversations, written correspondence, print outs of emails, copies of reports filed and contacts made in a secure, accessible location.
The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page www.bizcenter.org.