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Identity Thief: How do you spot one?

Identity Thief: How do you spot one?

What is an identity thief and how do you spot one?

We are in a rapidly expanding digital environment centered on identity and experience. An online presence has become a prerequisite for both startup and long-standing businesses. Credibility and reputation play a big part in ensuring your clients trust your brand.

But what happens when you find an identity thief using your company brand and identity for fraud?

Identity theft takes a huge toll on a company’s finances. According to the U.S. Identity Theft: The Stark Reality report, identity theft cases cost companies $502.5 billion in losses in 2019. In 2020, it increased by 42 percent, amounting to $712.4 billion.

What is an identity thief?

An identity thief steals personal information from your company, clients, and customers for financial gain. They often go under the radar until damages have been made.

Identity thieves pose as owners or employees of a company for fraudulent activities, leaving the business with debts. They use a legitimate company’s information to file fake tax returns, apply for lines of credit, or even acquire loans.

How to spot an identity thief

Identity thieves are present across multiple communication channels, prevalent in emails, calls, social media, and text messages. They may use spoofed emails to pose as an employee or send phishing emails to your customers.

Here are some ways to spot an identity thief or an identity theft:

  • Receiving a call or an email from someone impersonating an authority figure. Often, requesting for an urgent wire transfer without following usual protocols and approvals
  • Receiving an email that uses the same name but with a different email address
  • Receiving fake invoices
  • Receiving unexpected membership and service fees
  • Receiving a call requesting for Personal Identifiable Information (PII) for on-call registrations

If you suspect that you have become a target of an identity thief, here are some warning signs:

  • Bank statements and transactions that do not match company accounting book records
  • New lines of credit on your business credit card report
  • Receiving collection notices about transactions you didn’t make
  • Merchants or retailers inform you that the cheque you gave bounced.
  • A credit request that is suddenly refused

Protecting your brand’s identity through digital certificates

How do you protect yourself against this threat? Luckily, there are solutions to mitigate identity theft. The digital certificate is a must have in every business that exchanges valuable and sensitive data online.

Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits of having a digital certificate when it comes to alleviating identity theft:

  • Digital signatures protect both sender and recipient from phishing activities.
  • Digital certificates verify the sender's identity so every recipient knows they are legitimate.
  • Emails with digital certificates have a higher chance of gaining trust by clients.
  • Digital certificates help recipients to differentiate a real email from a fraudulent one.
  • Email encryption protects sensitive information from third-party intrusions. Both the sender and recipient must have a digital certificate on their email account.
  • Digital certificates have a timestamping feature that lets users identify when a document was signed.
  • Digital certificates provide authenticity and proves that the signed document has not been altered in any way.

List of digital certificates and how they protect the user's identity

  • For emails: Secure Email or S/MIME allows companies to have a safe online communication across co-workers. It allows them to digitally sign their emails to verify their email addresses. This helps filter out fake emails and alerts. Encryption can be enabled for messages that contain sensitive information so only the intended recipient can read it.
  • For documents: Our Digital Signing Service (DSS) allows companies to digitally sign contracts or agreements. It is equal to a wet-ink signature and is legally binding. It ensures that the document came from the sender (integrity and non-repudiation) and not an identity thief.
  • For websites: SSL/TLS certificate protects websites from hackers and prevents man-in-the-middle attacks through encryption. It ensures that every bit of information a website visitor puts on your website—from login credentials to credit card information—cannot be intercepted.

Managing multiple certificates with a certificate management tool/platform

Businesses have the responsibility of keeping not only their own but also their clients’ data safe from identity thieves. It is advisable to have a certificate management tool at hand.

At GlobalSign, we not only provide certificates, but also a platform to avail, issue, track, and manage those certificates.

System downtime and outages are often the risks associated with expired certificates. A straightforward certificate management tool that can manage high-volume certificates can help prevent that.

GlobalSign’s Atlas is a powerful platform for managing certificates with speed and automation. Here’s how Atlas can help your company stay secure without the hassle:

  • Shoulder your company’s PKI burden. Offload the core function of security implementation to GlobalSign.
  • Enables high-volume, high-speed certificate issuance without bandwidth and hardware limitations
  • Provides long-term cost savings
  • Meets two-factor authentication and encryption requirements for improved security

Tools and solutions are continuously advancing to give companies and users the best leverage against identity thieves.

Securing online communications, documents, and websites do not have to be complicated. GlobalSign is here to help you manage certificates with ease! Get in touch with us here or send us an email at

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