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Corporate personhood is the notion that corporations have rights and responsibilities similar to those of an individual person. It follows that if a corporation has the same rights and responsibilities as a person, it can also have an identity and thus be the victim of identity theft.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on the growing trend of business identity theft in which perpetrators pose as legitimate businesses to steal customers or to gain access to the business or to customers’ financial information.

The NPR story focused on the owner of a pest control business who opened the Yellow Pages to find three other listings with the same company name, none of which were affiliated with him. While he had no way of knowing for sure, he assumed customers were calling the impostors thinking it was, in fact, his business. He worried that impostors would either harm his company’s reputation by providing inferior services or use his name to acquire customer information.

Other tactics identity thieves may use include establishing lines of credit under the business’s name or resurrecting defunct businesses without the original business owners’ knowledge and taking out loans and lines of credit.

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