Identify Theft for Businesses
|Confidential company information is thrown into the trash without being shredded and a thief goes through the trash.
||The thief now has enough information to act as an agent for the company.
||The thief has successfully opened up new lines of credit in your company's name and can now start spending the company's money.
Your trust in Fifth Third is important to us, and we want to help you guard against disclosure of information that could lead to identity theft. As a business, your concern is twofold – you need to be concerned about exposing your customers to identity theft and about becoming a victim yourself.
Important Note: Fifth Third will not contact you via text, email, phone or mail to request or verify security information about passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs). For your protection and privacy, Fifth Third representatives will ask for certain information to verify your identity.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft (ID theft) occurs when someone assumes another individual's personal identifying information (e.g., name, social security number, date of birth, etc.) or a business's identity (e.g., business name, employer ID number, etc.) with the intent of committing fraud.
Your business's identity can be stolen in a variety of ways, including:
Stolen mail – bank statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, bills/invoices
Dumpster diving – checking commercial business trash for discarded sensitive information
Internal theft – employees or contractors stealing information
Phishing, spyware, and malware – getting you or one of your employees to reveal information via the internet
Social engineering – the thieves call, pretending to be a colleague or vendor, and attempt to trick you into revealing confidential information
Information posted on the internet
How does identity theft work?
Using one or more of the methods identified above, the fraudster obtains key pieces of information (e.g., EIN, Tax IDs, Social Security numbers of registered agents, account numbers, etc.) that is then used to open new bank accounts in your company's name, apply for loans, apply for credit, etc. These activities can result in damage to the company's credit history, which may cause operational problems.
What should you be looking for?
Unauthorized debits (may appear as ACH transactions or as paper checks)
Stolen checks with forged signatures on the front (maker) or back (endorsement)
What can you do to try to prevent identity theft?
Never provide confidential information to anyone unless you have initiated the contact and know that they are a trusted source.
If a company credit or debit card is lost or stolen, cancel it immediately.
- If an issued check does not clear your account in a timely manner, contact the payee to determine if it was received and place a stop payment on it if necessary.
Periodically review your company's credit report.
If you sell or dissolve your business, contact the credit reporting bureaus to advise them that you will no longer be applying for credit under the business name.
- Monitor your registration information with the Secretary of State and understand what kind of public access the state allows to the information and what steps are necessary to change your identity.
Consider registering with organizations such as Dun & Bradstreet and Standard and Poor's, which maintain reliable and up-to-date registration information and alert companies of any change.
What can you do to protect your corporate identity?
Keep all sensitive documents, checkbooks and credit cards securely locked away.
Shred all confidential documents before discarding.
Issue credit cards only to those employees who really need them.
Retrieve paper mail promptly and take outgoing mail to the post office.
Contact the company (bank or utilities) if you fail to receive your monthly account statement.
Contact your bank right away if you receive a change of address verification from them but you haven't moved.
Consider replacing paper bills, statements, and checks with online (paperless) versions.
Use online banking to monitor account activity regularly.
Use email based alerts to monitor transfers, payments, low balances, etc.
What should you do if you become a victim of identity theft?
File a report with law enforcement and be sure to request of copy of the report.
Contact the financial institutions or the companies where the information about you has been used and let them know you are a victim of identity theft. Have your accounts flagged for fraud or close any compromised accounts.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-ID-THEFT or
File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at
Contact the credit reporting agencies to report the identity theft and request they place a fraud alert on your account. You only need to contact one. The agency you contact will contact the other two.
Keep good records of who you talk to, summaries of conversations and documentary evidence of the crime.
For additional information about account fraud and identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org.