We have recently become aware of a company which has been hijacked by fraudsters, changing the details of their registered office address, leaving them vulnerable to further fraud.
Currently, Companies House do not check the documents filed, leading to them dealing with 50 to 100 cases of identity fraud each month.
So how do you protect yourself?
PROOF – PROtected Online Filing scheme
Companies House have introduced a scheme to protect companies from unauthorised changes to their records. Once signed up to PROOF, Companies House will only accept requests to change address or officer details electronically. The system works by using confidential authentication codes and recognised email addresses.
What if I need to file a paper form?
If you have opted in to PROOF but for some reason need to file a paper version of any of the forms covered by the Scheme, you will also need to include a PR03 (consent form) when sending it to Companies House. You can obtain a PR03 form by calling Companies House on 0303 1234 5000. This should only be used in exceptional circumstances though, as companies who have opted in to PROOF but continually do paper filings with a PR03 form will be removed from the Scheme by Companies House.
We highly recommend that you register for PROOF to do everything you can to limit fraud. If you do suspect fraudulent activity against your company, you should report it to the relevant bodies, details of which can be found here.
Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.