More and more British companies are falling victim to corporate identity theft which has together cost businesses £700 million in the last year alone, it has been claimed.
An index of risk published today by insurance provider Royal & Sun Alliance (R&SA) predicts that the cumulative cost of corporate ID theft is likely to increase by 1,300 per cent in the next 14 years.
Larger businesses in the communications, insurance, banking and finance sectors are most at risk from the growing crime trend, the R&SA index shows, with companies over 250 together being hit worst by 2020.
Despite this all businesses are at risk of falling victim to corporate ID theft, with underprepared, insecure data protection measures allowing criminals to steal corporate identities and information and use them for their own gain in legitimately registered companies.
"Companies are increasingly being affected by corporate ID theft and many are worried about the risks of fraudsters stealing their company identity, as this could lead to a loss of competitive advantage or public confidence," Jon Woodman, director of risk solutions at R&SA, commented.
"With identify theft a growing risk facing businesses, it is important to take measures to minimise exposure to fraudsters and have a good security policy in place," he said.
Simon Wallace, of the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) which conducted the index's preparation, said: "Those willing to hack, scam and defraud will find new and technically advanced methods to open up the necessary loop holes and steal a firm’s identity.
"Business will need to adapt to this risk and must be willing to increase their spending on new and improved IT security systems in order to fend off attacks and stay one step ahead."
Corporate identity theft reflects the rapid growth in personal identity theft in the UK, which R&SA claims has seen ten per cent of the British adult population have their identity stolen by thieves looking for credit.