One in ten people have been affected by identity theft, but businesses as well as individuals need to be alert to the growing menace, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has warned.
It follows a separate report which suggested consumers should be given a free copy of their credit rating each year to help combat the problem.
Val Culley, ACCA spokeswoman for the West Midlands, said: "ID thieves gain access to bank accounts to steal money, run up bills, launder money or carry out benefit fraud and businesses have the added worry of their company being hijacked.
"Fraudsters can complete statutory forms from Companies House which enable them to change the names of company directors and the registered address of a company. Once this has been done, it is all too easy for them to transfer bank accounts and obtain credit.
"Companies should make regular checks to ensure that their details registered with Companies House remain correct.
"Those employed to shred corporate waste should be properly vetted to ensure that they do not have a criminal background and can be trusted with what is a crucial part of any company's security procedure.
"If you receive a telephone call from a credit card company, bank or other retail company asking to confirm certain details about yourself or your company, decline and ask to call them back, preferably through a central switchboard.
"Be particularly vigilant when using on-line services. There is a growing scam known as 'phishing', where emails are received, supposedly from your bank, asking for login and account details. Do not give out this information - a bank would never ask for these confidential details in this manner.
" If you move address, remember to inform all of the companies/customers that send information to you in the post and consider re-directing your post through Royal Mail.
"Destroy or keep safe all correspondence such as bank and credit card statements/receipts and utility bills. Either tear it in to unreadable pieces or, for extra security, consider using a shredder. Keep credit card PIN numbers safe and do not disclose them to anyone. It may be safer to choose separate four digit numbers for each card, but make sure that they are ones that cannot be easily guessed such as your date/year of birth."
There should also be better data sharing between government agencies and the public sector, and the police should be given more resources to crack down on the problem, according to criminologist Professor Martin Gill.
Identity theft, under which a fraudster uses personal details about someone else to apply for credit and benefits in their name, is one of the UK's fastest growing crimes.
Professor Gill's report, Identity Theft and Fraud: Learning from the USA, said the US took a far more rigorous approach to the crime than the UK.
He said in order to help combat the problem in the UK people should be sent a free copy of their credit reference each year to enable them to better monitor whether someone had been applying for credit in their name.
At the same time he said credit reference agencies should share fraud alerts among themselves, so that victims of the crime did not have to contact each credit reference agency separately.
The report, which was commissioned by credit card provider Capital One, also called for police to be given greater resources to tackle the problem.
Other ideas from the US that it said could be introduced in the UK include finding a way of sharing details of identity theft with firms outside the financial sector, particularly between public and private bodies.
It also called for the police to publish a strategy document outlining how they plan to tackle identity theft and fraud, including the role businesses, community groups and individuals could play in supporting their activities.