With Halloween here, it’s understandable if you’re a little more fearful than normal. After all, who knows what ghouls and ghosts lurk in the darkness? However, in this blog post we’re looking at a far more realistic threat – company fraud. When it comes to business it always pays to be cautious. With that in mind, here are four ways you can protect your limited company from the all-too-real threat of fraudsters and other unscrupulous types. Ignore at your peril…
1. Join PROOF
By signing up for the Companies House PROOF (PROtected Online Filing) scheme, you’re telling the registrar of companies that you don’t want paper forms to be accepted for your company. Without PROOF it is relatively simple for an individual to make unauthorised (fraudulent) changes to your company. Someone could potentially:
- Update your registered office
- Appoint and resign company officers (including directors)
- Prepare and file a Confirmation Statement
By joining PROOF you’re eradicating this threat as the majority of changes can then only be made online.
2. Don’t use your private address as the Registered Office or Service Address
The registered office (the company’s official address) and service address (the director’s official address) are both on the Companies House public register. This means anyone can freely find it. If you use a residential address as either of these addresses you’re opening yourself up to:
- Unwanted visitors
- Receiving junk mail – some of which may well be fraudulent
We offer address services that allow you to use our N1 London address as your registered office and service address. This not only protects your address from the public register but also acts as a handy junk mail filter (as we’ll only forward on official government mail).
3. Take care of your company’s WebFiling Authentication Code
The WebFiling Authentication Code is a six alphanumeric code that acts as your company’s online password. Without this code you can’t make any online changes to your company. Like all passwords, this code needs to be handled with the utmost care and should only be given to trusted individuals. If you do believe that your code has been compromised contact Companies House.
Bonus tip: Once in possession of your WebFiling Authentication Code you have the option to change it to something more memorable. If you do wish to update your code, ensure your new code is secure.
Recommended blog post: Updating a company’s Webfiling Authentication Code
4. Track your company
With Company Search MadeSimple – our company credit report service – you can set up a free tracker alert. This means you’ll be emailed whenever a change occurs to your company. This enables you to act quickly if a fraudulent change ever does take place.
To set up a company tracker:
- Visit Company Search MadeSimple
- Leaving the ‘UK Company’ tab selected, type in your company name and click ‘Search’
- Click on the correct company name
- Select ‘Track updates’
- Enter your account information – you’ll then receive an email whenever a change takes place!
Follow these four tips to give you and your business the best possible chance of avoiding fraud. Of course, if you do believe you have fallen victim to any fraudulent activity, contact Companies House immediately. Thanks for reading… and don’t have nightmares!