Since learning I was a victim of business identity theft back in March 2017, I’ve come across several numbers that speak to the impact of this crime. As the figures below will show, business identity theft is no joke.
That’s how much I’ve spent, thus far, on court fees in my efforts to reacquire land stolen from me by a business identity thief.
On December 31, 2015, an identity thief filed a fraudulent business record with the Nevada Secretary of State that stripped my name from a holding company I had been using to stash a $5 million piece of property. I didn’t realize that had happened until November 2016.
But, even then, I didn’t know how serious that was. I just figured it was a mistake. I had my assistant put my name back on the company’s records and we went about our day.
What I didn’t know initially was that in those 11 months between when the fraudulent record was filed and when I saw that my name wasn’t on the holding company anymore, the identity thieves caused a lot of problems.
First, they borrowed $1.7 million against the property. Then they moved it into another LLC. Then they put it up for sale.
When I learned all of that, in March 2017, I had to contact a lawyer immediately and go to court. I’ve been stuck there ever since.
That’s the increase in fraudulent tax returns filed for businesses from 2015 to 2017, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
In 2015, the IRS found 350 fraudulent tax returns had been filed for businesses. The next year, that number jumped to 4,000. In 2017, the number was around 10,000.
And as the number of incidents spiked, the IRS saw a corresponding increase in potential losses as well.
In 2015 it was $122 million. In 2016, $268 million. In 2017, $137 million.
In short, the IRS saw that cases of business identity theft were increasing in frequency.
46 percent increase
That’s the increase in business identity theft incidents Dun & Bradstreet, the commercial reporting agency based out of New Jersey, found from 2016 to 2017.
From 2007 to 2012, D&B’s tracking of the issue found a startling increase in the amount of business identity theft activity in the United States. But then, from 2013 to 2015, it started to decline.
But then it rose again, first in 2016 and again in 2017 – up 46 percent year over year, the largest single year increase since D&B began tracking the issue in 2005.
Like the IRS, D&B saw cases of business identity theft rising.
That’s the number of complaints the Nevada Secretary of State received about fake business filings, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, which investigated business identity theft in the Silver State after learning about my case.
The Review-Journal reported that in only one instance did the Secretary of State find fraud.
The Secretary of State dismissed 46 complaints because it determined the alleged victim knew the potential fraudster. The office insists it does not have the authority to resolve disputes in which parties know each other.
The Secretary of State also ended probes in 35 cases after investigators received no response from the alleged scammers.
That’s the number of business identity theft incidents investigated by Agent Ralph Gagliardi’s unit in Colorado from 2010 through early 2018.
Agent Gagliardi leads one of the nation’s only law enforcement units in the entire country dedicated to eradicating business identity theft. I recruited him to serve as an advisor to Company Alarm after I learned about his unit in the Review-Journal article.
He says that “Business identity theft is one of the biggest problems facing American businesses today, but virtually no one knows about it.”
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