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ID thieves are going corporate. Assuming the identity of consumers to obtain loans and credit cards under assumed names has become the US's fastest growing crime. Now fraudsters are applying similar tricks against potential enterprise victims.

Here's how it works. Crooks set up websites under the names of legitimate companies and apply for merchant status with credit card payment processing firms. Next they put orders through these bogus sites using credit cards, raking off a tidy percentage in the process. Crooks direct these illicit revenues to separate accounts in the hope they'll be able to draw out a sizable wedge by the time their ruse is rumbled. The trick is to obtain numerous merchant accounts for each bogus site.

The scam sounds inefficient and straightforward to spot but numerous companies have already fallen victim. New-York based software company T-Data was landed with a bill for $15,000 in credit card fees. "They are flying under the radar on each transaction unless someone does a whole lot of work," said Jeff Duhl, T-Data's owner, who remains critical of merchant's patchy record in recognising bogus transactions.

T-Data is far from alone in suffering because of the scam. More than 50 other organisations have already become victims to corporate identity theft, MSNBC reports. ®

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