As a small business owner, you may assume that larger businesses are at a greater risk of hackers stealing their data. Don’t big companies have more revenue and sensitive information at stake? While that might be true in one sense, sources like Insurance Business say that, in general, cybercriminals are more likely to attack small businesses since they have fewer security measures in place than corporations.

Let’s look at the impact of identity theft on small businesses.

What Is Identity Theft Online?

Like non-digital identity theft, an online hacker will get information from your small business or its employees and pretend to be you. Countless hacking techniques steal your social security number, passwords, and other personal or financial information, including:

  • Phishing, which sends you to faux websites
  • Viruses, which enter your network and deliver stored data directly to hackers 

How Can Identity Theft Harm Your Business?

After accessing and using personal data, the thief conceals their identity until they finish cashing out as much as possible. They then close the account to avoid detection. In the process, your business can lose a lot: money, reputation, trade secrets, and much more.

Loss of Finances

The most obvious identity theft problem is losing funds to a mysterious third party with unauthorized access to your business network. They can steal enough so that your operating expenses outweigh your revenue, tanking your operations.

You’ll also have to spend money to undo these damages, including compensating employees and customers or even regulatory fines. 

Legal Issues

Recovering from identity theft is hard if regulatory bodies do not take your compromised customer data lightly. They fine you for your ineffective security system in terms of the laws meant to increase privacy. 

It’s a loss of finances, making your company less safe and reliable. You’ll lose customers. 

Tainted Reputation 

What happens with diminished customer trust in your small business? Nothing good. 

Suppose one or more customers find their information compromised, and word gets out. In that case, your business would look like those scammer websites. 

Sometimes, it takes years or even decades to rebuild that trust. Could your business give up and rebrand? You won’t have to work your way from the ground up with the right proactive measures to prevent identity theft.

Prevent Loss With the Right Measures For Your Business

Pay attention when you notice signs of identity theft, such as unauthorized credit card purchases or fraudulent tax returns. The following practices may keep your credit score up and any police report at bay:

  • Use strong passwords (letters, numbers, symbols, and multi-step authentication).
  • Do not click suspicious links.
  • Teach employees the warning signs of online scammers
  • Don’t wait to report unusual activity in your personal or business accounts or networks.
  • Choose secure connections and VPNs

Identity theft is not a victimless crime. Consider the potential impact of identity theft on your small business and take the appropriate measures.