Most people are familiar with identity theft, which happens when someone pretends to be someone else to make purchases, apply for credit or even get their tax refund.
However, an increasing number of criminals are doing the same thing, but stealing business data.
Business identity theft was up 46 percent year-over-year in 2017, the latest numbers available, according to data and analytics company Dun & Bradstreet.
Cyber-criminals "actually take on their client lists or the special sauce that makes that company operate and compete with them directly. In other instances, they're pretending to be that business," Steven Shapiro, a unit chief at the FBI, told CNBC in a recent interview.
At stake are businesses' brand, reputation and trade secrets. One recent case cost the company $1 billion in market share and hundreds of jobs, according to the FBI.
"Criminals have a perception that it's easier to find a business's data than it is for individuals. There's also a perception that businesses have deeper pockets than an individual would in an identity theft situation," said Shapiro.