What is Business Identity Theft?
Business identity theft (also known as corporate or commercial identity theft) is a type of identity theft. It occurs when someone uses a business’ identity to establish lines of credit with banks or retailers.
Identity thieves could be attempting to manipulate state business registration and filing systems to gain control over the business, fraudulently employ people or claim unemployment benefits, or conduct other business in that company’s name. In some cases, identity thieves assume the identity of a business for criminal purposes like money laundering and racketeering.
Regardless of the thieves’ intent, business identity theft can be detrimental to a company’s reputation, deter customers, cause financial loss, cause expensive litigation, and even potentially lead to bankruptcy.
How to Report Business Identity Theft
If you believe your tax identification number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) has been stolen and someone has filed a Colorado tax return, please fill out the Report Possible Tax Fraud Form. You may also call the Tax Fraud Unit at (303) 205-8262 for additional assistance from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
If you think someone is using your business name or EIN to submit fraudulent tax returns or W-2 forms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), fill out the IRS Form 14039-B: Business Identity Theft Affidavit and send it to the address listed on the form. More information about business identity theft can be found on the IRS Business Identity Theft section of their website.
If you suspect your employer identification number has been stolen, you may also wish to report the theft to the following State of Colorado agencies:
- Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE)
- Colorado Secretary of State’s Office
- Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- Stop Fraud Colorado, a program of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office
Business Identity Theft Prevention
Follow these initial steps to help protect your business from identity theft:
- Monitor your correspondence from the Department of Revenue and other State of Colorado agencies
- Obtain a commercial credit report for your business
- Sign up for electronic notifications with your bank, other creditors, and service providers
- Keep up to date on tactics scammers use to try to obtain your business’ identity
- More prevention steps can be found in the Secretary of State’s Office Business Identity Theft Prevention Checklist
These are your first steps to protecting your business. Your effort should not stop there. For more information on additional steps to protect your business and your customers, review these informational resources:
- Business Identity Theft Resource Guide from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office
- Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals from the IRS
- Protect Your Clients. Protect Yourself. (IRS Publication)