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Business ID Theft: A Growing Problem

Business ID Theft: A Growing Problem - The Beacon


By: Tom

Business ID Theft: A Growing Problem

As many of our readers are aware, identity theft is still one of the most pervasive crimes perpetrated against people.  A growing concern is the rise in business ID theft.  Your BBB® also wants consumers to understand that this form of ID theft just doesn’t harm the business, but consumers as well. 

Can you imagine the headache caused when a consumer goes to a site to make a purchase, especially a major purchase, only to have their credit card processed without receiving the product for which the purchase was made? Can you imagine the frustration and concern that a reputable company experiences when receiving complaint calls or e-mails from people who weren’t actually their customers making demands for items for which the actual business never received the order?  In some cases, the business may not even carry the item in question.

According to the Small Business Administration,, over 10 million consumers are victimized by business ID theft, and they state that the numbers are growing.

Let’s begin with two things that we as consumers can do to ensure that we’re doing business with the actual company.  First, visit and read the Business Review.  Don’t just look at the rating and complaint information, but take care to check out the contact information for the business and make sure that all information matches what’s on the website, and make sure that the URL matches the information on file with the BBB.  Second, check with registration authorities such as or to see who the owner of the domain is.  Unfortunately, a number of domains are registered through a proxy which makes it extremely difficult to learn who owns the URL in question.  Sometimes these scammers are located outside of North America.  Your BBB has locations in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. 

To report a scam, visit, and let us know of your experience.  For more information on reputable businesses and charities, visit where you can Start With Trust®.

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Tom is Vice President for the Tri-State Better Business Bureau. In addition to answering the needs of our accredited businesses, Tom can be seen on WEVV providing tips for businesses and consumers. He also works closely with other local media outlets to keep our community informed of marketplace issues affecting our area.