Business owners have been advised to stay vigilant with regards to their company details registered with Companies House. It is recommended that these details are checked at least once every three months to protect against identity theft.
Safety officers from the CPP Group stated that spot checks can prevent the £13500 average bill faced by company owners who have their identity stolen. This is an average cost but this figure was actually calculated prior to discovering there is a loophole in the data processing of Companies House.
CPP Group disclosed that fraudsters have actually been able to access and change details such as the company director’s name and registered office address by sending counterfeit forms to Companies House. There are no systems in place at Companies House to verify the paperwork submitted there. There are also no systems to confirm changes which would alert a company director to fraudulent changes on his records.
However, since these concerns were raised Companies House has responded by introducing Proof – Protected Online Filing. This system bans paper forms and promises secure online filing of documents. Furthermore they have introduced the Monitor system which will now alert company directors to any changes made on their records.
The loophole, though, is that company directors must sign up to these schemes placing the onus on them to secure their data.
Michael Lynch, head of identity protection at CPP, commented: “The current loopholes in the Companies House system make it worryingly easy for imposters to steal a company’s information.”