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East Midlands Chamber News

Companies House urged to tackle ID theft

ID theft occurs when fraudsters change the details of a registered limited company - such as the names of directors or the company secretary - at Companies House without the knowledge of the company concerned. They then use the established business' good credit history to purchase goods and disappear.To protect against ID theft, Companies House recently introduced electronic filing - allowing companies to alter their details online with the use of a password - and email alerts to notify companies when their details are amended."The current preventative measures are easy to use and available at no additional cost - they significantly reduce the chance of ID theft," said a spokesman for Companies House.However, the FSB has complained that Companies House only keeps a record of documents that have been changed, rather than checking the accuracy of amendments as they come in.The organisation believes that Companies House needs to do more to make small firms aware of the risks of ID theft. "The recent measures are a step in the right direction, but businesses are not aware of how easy it can be for their details to be changed," said an FSB spokesman."Companies House needs to write to businesses so they are aware of the risk of corporate ID theft."Responding to the criticism a spokesman for Companies House, said:" We've set up a system that's been endorsed by the Metropolitan Police. We only receive about 15 disputed changes per month, and not all of these are ID theft."He added that the FSB's proposals to check the accuracy of any changes as they receive them would make the system too bureaucratic.According to research from the Metropolitan Police, ID fraud is estimated to cost UK businesses more than £50m a year.

  • To amend your company details online visit www.companieshouse.gov.uk.
  • For more information and advice on protecting your firm from ID theft visit the Metropolitan Police website.

(c) Business Hotline Publications Ltd 2005