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This podcast selection is taken from a series of Business Hub radio shows broadcast on Star FM between February 2011 and October 2014 with advice from basic book-keeping through to crowd funding, directors loans, cashflow and a whole lot more!

There's something for everyone so do feel free to download and share - it might just be the golden nugget of information you need for your business to succeed!Listen at Star 107.9 FM

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Business Trouble - your choices

The Business Hub - Identity Theft and Your Company

The Business Hub Show - 16 December 2012

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Mark

Over the last 2 weeks I have become a victim of identity fraud.† I received a parcel from a well known catalogue retailer, at my home address, addressed to me, I opened the parcel and inside was a size 16 dress Ė which clearly I hadnít ordered myself. I phoned my wife and it wasnít hers (she isnít that size). I phoned the retailer and explained what had happened and they said I had been the victim of identity fraud.

On quizzing the retailer they explained to me why I had received this product. The identity fraudsters set up the account and make one order that gets delivered.† Then, after the first order has gone they are allowed to change the delivery address.† Which they did, then the next order was full of sunglasses and expensive handbags which had gone to an address in Croydon.

I asked the retailer how this could happen and apparently the information came from Companies House. †So Garry with millions of people being company directors, how can we stop this from happening?

Garry

I have not heard that before, but it is quite right. Generally unless you make other arrangements (which I will come on to) that sort of personal information is available on the public record at Companies House for anyone to make a search on.
When you become a Company Director you must disclose your name, home address, date of birth and nationality.

Mark

So weíre completely unprotected then?†

Garry

No, there is a solution but most people arenít aware of it.

You can now nominate a service address to be shown on the public record rather than your personal home address. Companies House still has to have your home address but it doesnít go on your public record and only certain authorities can access that information.† Your Date of Birth and Nationality are still shown.†

If you are an existing director you will need to complete the appropriate form to have that information changed at Companies House.† The downside is it doesnít change the historical information Ė so all previous annual returns etc will still have your home address on.† However, if the fraudsters did a search of Companies House they would get the current records.

Mark

So all you need to do is have a registered address.

Garry

Yes there is a form you can fill in on the Companies House website that will enable you to change your address details.

Mark

Companies have their own credit ratings donít they so is it possible for this to happen to a business?

Garry

Yes, very much so, and it happens quite a lot now.
There have been many instances of fraudsters effectively taking control of your company by filing bogus change of directors and registered office details with the Registrar of Companies and then entering into contracts in your companyís name!† Having made off with their ill-gotten gains they then leave you high and dry with the liabilities. The first you may know about it is when you start getting demands from the other party.
There have also been instances of fake accounts being filed at Companies House.

The best way to protect against this is to sign up for the PROOF system at Companies House which means most documents can only be filed electronically with specially issued identity codes which only you hold. Therefore if a paper document is filed it is rejected.

We use this system for all our clients using our Company Secretary service, which gives them great peace of mind.

Mark

I recommend it because I am now having to go through the process of checking my credit score, the catalogue company are having to take action, and there is a criminal investigation taking place.

Garry

Fraud increases in times of austerity when people feel hard up.† This puts a phenomenal cost on businesses who in turn have to invest millions in fraud prevention.

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