By Jerry Detwelller

A.D. As of August 2021, the Small Business Administration reported that it had received 1.2 million identity theft complaints for economic risk loans. This means that more than one million business owners believe that their business identity has been used to apply for SVA-funded CVD.

I am one of the victims. This is what happened to me, you can use it to protect your business with the steps I take.

How I learned that I was a victim of business identity theft

I learned about fraudulent loan applications because my personal expert credit report lists claims from SBA ODA but I have never applied for a SBA loan.

Since its inception in March 2020, I have written extensively about the EIDL program to help businesses affected by the virus. So when I looked at the question posed by SBA ODA, I knew that the acronym was for the SBA Emergency Office, and I knew that someone had used my identity to apply for IDL. (While still in full-time employment, I still maintain my own business, which was created a few decades ago.)

This is not my first argument with identity thieves. A few years ago, someone opened a retail credit card in my name and ordered a sneaker. Then in the spring of 2020, I learned that fraudsters were using my name again to apply for credit and incentive benefits.

In my credit report, a request came from a major credit card issuer. I haven’t applied for credit recently, so I called the provider. He explained that there is an application for a credit card, but it has not been issued yet. I told them it was a scam.

A different request from a financial institution appeared in my credit report. At that moment, I learned that the fraudsters had opened a bank account in my name. Weeks later, I found out that I had applied for a full-time job at Nav, but they had successfully used my information to apply for unemployment.

Fortunately, the bank blocked a check from a government unemployment agency before it could be seized. (A second bank account was opened in my name but I was able to close it quickly before any activity took place)

I had previously issued a fraud warning on my credit report, but I renewed it and visited my local sheriff’s office, hoping the police report would be completed. But then the request from the SBA appeared in my credit report.

Unlike the times I was able to call the financial institutions in question, I could not find a way to talk to someone in the SBA or find out what was going on. And since SBA EIDL loans do not appear on personal or business credit reports, I have no way of knowing if there is an SBA loan attached to my name. (SBA EIDL loans appear in business credit reports with more than $ 25,000 in UCC-1 file results, but I haven’t seen any of them in my credit reports yet.)

I am in the process of submitting an identity theft report to SBA. Surprisingly, the only way to do this is by emailing my personal information and a copy of my ID – not what I call the safest method of communication.

Owners of many small businesses affected by identity theft

Business identity theft is on the rise, according to the National Cyber ​​Security Society (NCSS). A.D. In 2019, Dunn and Bradstret High Risk Awareness and Fraud Awareness (HRFI) Group identity theft increased by 100% and is projected to increase by 258% by 2020.

Identity theft can be difficult to detect or completely prevent, especially for small businesses that are unable to keep up with warning signs. But there are a few strategies to consider.

Identifying theft how to find and deal with a business

1. Check and control your privacy And Business loan reports

Suspicious activity, including questions or new accounts you do not know, can be a sign of fraud. Since credit bureaus do not exchange information with each other except in very limited circumstances, you will want to verify and monitor your credit with each of the major consumer credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – and with commercial credit agencies. Like Dunn and Bradstrett, Ecufax and Expert. (Here are 138+ places to get your free credit points.)

2. Beware of scams

Beware of scams, such as emails or phone calls that try to trick you into revealing confidential information. Make sure the links are secure (locked in the URL) and that they match the site you think you are visiting. Better yet, sign in to accounts directly from the financial institution’s app or website.

3. Verify and maintain state business documents

In some regions, it is easy for scammers to check and change online registrations. The address you have not started is a large red flag with something missing.

4. If you notice suspicious activity, take immediate action

Put a fraud alert or credit stop on your personal credit. (Incidentally, you cannot block business credit.) Submit a police report. And keep good records – you may realize they need them later. If you are a victim of identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Help Center for useful information on what to do.

Protect yourself from being victimized

Identity theft consumes time and resources, and both businesses are often in short supply. Even if you can’t prevent fraud, taking active steps to protect your personal and business identities will save you valuable time in the long run.

About the author

Gerri Detweiler, Director of Education b NaviFor more than two decades, it has been helping individuals and small business owners make smarter credit and financial decisions. Follow her Twitter And LinkedIn. Check out Jerry’s articles and full biography on AllBusiness.com.

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This article was originally published by AllBusiness.com.

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