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Annals of Fraud: Can You Steal a Corporation’s Identity?

Day from Hell #1,247,679: The Editor struggles to get through 80 pages of the MOST arcane prose imaginable, written in Chinglish (no rudeness intended: Client  hires Editor with the express purpose of please translating her one-helluva-lot-better-than-my-Chinese English into Academicese, which is not English either but which is amiably incomprehensible to native speakers of any language known to earthly humans).

This elicits a number of Actions from the Gods, led mostly by the jolly Zeus (“jolly” is in the eye of the beholder: earthly humans think he has a warped sense of humor):

1. Apple’s fragile and frikkin’ e-mail system crashes. Again. For the third time since the whole lash-up was transferred to the endlessly annoying iCloud.

2. Apple’s frikkin’ update to iTunes DISAPPEARS all my music and (goddammit) also disappears my selection of radio stations, some of which might be expected to emit the type of noise desired to break up the blizzard-like Brain White-Out occasioned by trying to edit the above Chinglish, so that maybe I can stay awake long enough to finish the job, which is now beginning to run unduly late.

3. Recourse to the various forums that substitute for help in the Apple universe reveals that a) these are known issues (i.e., they’re happening to other customers) and b) no one else is getting a meaningful answer either.

4. This means I have to interrupt an already difficult day by making an appointment at the local Apple store, whereinat I will have to fly into ANOTHER STRATOSPHERIC RAGE to get these issues (especially the e-mail) fixed.

Thinking of buying a Mac? Helpful hint: If, when unhappy with the latest stupid stuff, you make noises that are loud enough for other customers to overhear your yelling and stamping your dainty little foot, you WILL get the issue fixed. It’s amazing.

5. Last night after dark (as usual) the mail carrier delivers a notice from Chase Business Card Services informing me that some dude I’ve never heard of has tried to open a credit card account for The Copyeditor’s Desk. This means I have to spend a good half the day in the following enterprises:

a) Get Human at Chase. Discuss.
b) Get Human at one of the three major credit bureaus. At length one is found, in Bangladesh. He has no clue what I’m talking about.
c) Try to Get Human at FTC. Heeeee!
d) Try to Get Human at Dun & Bradstreet. SNARK!
e) Get Human at credit union. Mission accomplished, to rather little avail.
f) Get Human at American Express. Mission accomplished, and useful advice received.
f) Try to Get Human at Experian, the credit bureau from which Chase pulled CE Desk’s credit report. Mission partially accomplished after calling FIVE DIFFERENT GODDAMN PHONE NUMBERS: fraud alert emanated to all three major credit bureaus, but because this is a fraud on a business and not on a person, the effort is probably for naught. Human advises
….1) calling the police, and
….2) reporting fraud to Dun & Bradstreet.
g) Try again to report fraud to Dun & Bradstreet. Exercise in futility.
h) Call police. Talk to nice lady at police station. Agree to wait around all day for officers to show up and take report.
i) Call police-lady back later in day; explain need to schlep computer to Apple Store as unplanned emergency business meeting (which it sorta is); receive explanation from police-lady as to the unholy reason her officers have been detained elsewhere, Gawd help us. Inquire as to safety and well-being of officers; receive semi-assurance that they seem to be OK, we think.
j) Drive to Apple store. Find route closed where cops are still dealing with aftermath of (i) (see above).
k) Raise Hell and put a block under it. Get e-mail fixed on one computer but (as it develops) not on the other. Get explanation of absolutely STUPID AND INFURIATING new iteration of iTunes. Want to fly down the throat of Apple upper management goons and throttle the bastards from the inside. Move on.
l) Return to Funny Farm. Figure out, on own, how to fix Apple Effing Mail on desktop iMac, largely because Apple Genius has fixed whatever-the-Eff he fixed on flicking iCloud.
m) Devise a series of new excuses to clients and friends; make new business and other appointments.
n) Continue to try to figure out how or if to cope with attempted S-corporation identity theft. How do you steal a corporation’s identity, anyhow?

6. Seek advice from Accountant, most of whose practice consists of small businesses. Receive intelligence that the three major credit bureaus (Experien, Equifax, and Transunion) are no longer the only major players spying on our every move.

When it comes to reporting and evaluating business credit histories, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax also have small business divisions that are devoted to tracking the business credit histories for every business and corporation.

Experian is one of the three primary consumer credit reporting agencies who has also begun to provide credit evaluations for businesses and corporations. BusinessExperian offers a wide range of services, including Business Verification, Business Credit Scores, Business Credit Reports, Business Credit Monitoring, and Business Public Records. Experian’s Small Business Services also offers Consumer Mailing Lists and Business Leads.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact Experian for questions related to business credit:
Mailing Address
P.O Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Phone: (800) 520-1221

TRANSUNION is another of the primary consumer credit reporting agencies who also provides business and corporate credit histories. In addition to Business Credit Reporting, Transunion also provides assistance to small business owners through Marketing Services, Fraud and Identity Management, Risk Management, and Collections Management.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact Transunion for questions related to business credit:
Mailing Address
P.O Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Phone: (800) 813-5604

EQUIFAX SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE is the business division of one of the primary consumer credit rating bureaus. Equifax Small Business Enterprise provides business credit histories and evaluations for over 22,000,000 small businesses and corporations. In addition to Business Credit, Equifax offers assistance to small business owners related to Data Management, Data Reporting, Fraud, Marketing, and Risk.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact Equifax for questions related to business credit:
Mailing Address
P.O Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Phone: (888) 202-4025

In addition to these three agencies that have their origins in personal consumer credit reporting, there are also several other business credit reporting agencies that are devoted solely to business credit reporting and evaluation. These business credit reporting agencies include Dun & Bradstreet,, AccurintRBusiness, and ClientChecker.

DUN & BRADSTREET (D&B) is, without a doubt, the most well-known and established business credit reporting agency. D&B has compiled business credit profiles on hundreds of millions of global companies and corporations. In addition to Business Credit information, D&B can also assist small businesses collect debt from customers, find new customers, and research new opportunities.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact Dun & Bradstreet for questions related to business credit:
Phone: (800) 333-0505

CREDIT.NET – is a division of InfoUSA that generates credit reports on over 14,000,000 businesses and corporations. 6,000,000 of the reports in their database have been completed on small businesses with four employees or less. With a business credit report, you can make better decisions on extending small lines of credit, locate data on small, privately-owned businesses, verify the existence of a business, and identify headquarters and lines of business credit.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact for questions related to business credit:
Mailing Address
5711 S. 86th Circle
Omaha, NE 68127
Phone: (800) 993-5323

ACCURINTRBUSINESS – This is a new business that is a combination of forces between LexisNexis, one of the leading providers of business services and information and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). With a business credit report from AccurintRBusiness, you can get all the information you need on over 150,000,000 small U.S. businesses in order to make better decisions on vendors, partners, customers and competitors. In addition to Company Profiles (including addresses, phone numbers, DBAs, etc.) you will also receive credit and payment data, public record data (such as bankruptcies, judgments, tax liens, and UCC, associated businesses and principals, and a Better Business Bureau membership report.

Here is the pertinent information you will need in order to contact AccurintRBusiness for questions related to business credit:
Mailing Address
Phone: (866) 528-0776

ClientChecker – This is a credit reporting bureau that started in 2003 and specifically targets small businesses, freelance professionals, and contractors seeking information to help them determine which other businesses they should do business with. ClientChecker Business Credit Reports provide a comprehensive summary of users’ trade payment experiences with their clients. Business Credit Reports are created when the users of ClientChecker and BillingTracker invoicing software report that their clients have paid on time, late, or not at all. The data from each user is combined to produce a business credit report of average days paid late, number of incidences of non-payment, and a PayQuo™ score.

To coin a phrase: Holy sh!t.

And so, to choir practice…

5 thoughts on “Annals of Fraud: Can You Steal a Corporation’s Identity?”

  1. Make sure you get a police report, since that will be needed to instigate a 7-year fraud alert on your credit reports. (The initial one is just 90 days.)

    Also, not sure if these apply to Corporations, but I also filed form 14039 (identity theft affadavit) with the IRS and an identity theft complaint with the FTC (they compile stats, but don’t seem to enforce anything…)

    Also, I know you’re averse to online banking etc, but have you considered using something like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma? The free options on both of those are fairly robust and will notify you anytime a new credit line is opened under a given tax id number. Sure beats paying for the same thing with a free side of “false sense of security” from a company like Lifelock.

    • I’ll check in to all those things, thanks!

      My friend who learned last week that her identity was stolen had Lifelock. She said it did absolutely nothing.

  2. Funny…Can’t thank you enough for the contact numbers above and the info. The time you save us by providing this info is much appreciatted. I have often thought it isn’t a question of IF our accounts get “hacked” but WHEN. Will tell you the CC companies are getting REALLY good at recognizing fraud and contacting us. As for Amex…how sweet is it to have the call picked up on the second ring and talk to a REAL person who more times than not has a solution OR will transfer you to someone who does! Just a suggestion …when you have rough days like this….maybe switch over to de-caf….LOL…

  3. I remember reading something about online theft from your bank account. Not 100% clear on the details because we no longer have a business, but I think the article said that the protections you have in regards to your personal bank accounts do not apply to business accounts. There was an example of a company that had unauthorized funds transferred and the bank was only able to obtain some of the funds back. The rest had traveled too far, unable to follow the trail. This could put a company out of business.

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