Nonprofit Insurance Program

Identity Theft: It Can Happen to your Nonprofit

By Alexa Connelly
April 16, 2013

‘The Communication Revolution’, has taken everyone by storm. Today the technology is moving at such rapid space that it has become imperative that everyone needs to be on their toes to keep up with the changes. Further the competition is just not from ones neighbor but it can come from anywhere round the globe.

With every type of data available on the net – be it of an individual or an organization, it comes as no surprise that identity thefts are on the rise. It’s said, “That money makes the world goes around” and with all the personal information available on the net to the person who knows where & how to look for it, one can be an easy target.

If individuals and business houses can fall a prey to identify thefts why should nonprofit organizations be left out? After all nonprofit organizations also deal with money. Nonprofit organizations need to register their organization with different regulatory bodies and financial institutions, have a E.I.N., bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards, besides stationary like business cards, letterheads, sales or promotional material all of which can be reproduced and used fraudulently.

The most common theft is to use the nonprofit to get their credit or purchases for another company. Cyber Squatting is the term generally used as also social media identity theft, and nonprofit organizations are also targeted.

Cyber squatting is when one steals the organization’s domain name and profits from it – for example:

Nonprofits use the extension, ‘ORG’ in their domain name, thus the same name but ending in ‘COM’ can be registered by the identity thieves have an almost similar website running as that of the nonprofit organization. Since people are in the habit of using the extension – ‘.COM’, the nonprofit and its donor can unwittingly fall in prey of the thieves.

Organizations need to be careful of Social Media Identity thefts, when branding on a social site for scammers are always on the prowl to snatch up brand names and then cyber squatting for their own gain.

The best protection is to:

  • Control the data published online.
  • Check for use of your brand name on social media websites and take it if it appears.
  • Limit the access to sensitive information – E.I.N., bank account no. etc.
  • Prefer direct depositing and withdrawals and shred unwanted documents.
  • Have I.T. personnel constantly check on your systems.

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