Apparently, fraudsters have been utilising data published by Companies House to hijack the identity of company directors and use it to make online transactions. This will be of concern to company directors who are presently required to provide their home address when registering as a director.
They will welcome a new law that is being introduced later this year that will remove this disclosure requirement. In an announcement last week, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said:
- Company directors are twice as likely to be victims of identity fraud, research shows
- New laws will allow directors to remove their personal address from the company register whilst still ensuring transparency at Companies House
- Protection will help to ensure the UK continues to be one of the best places in the world to start a business – a key part of our Industrial Strategy
New laws to help protect company directors from identity fraud and personal harm will be introduced by the Government…
The new laws will enable company directors to remove their personal addresses from the UK’s official company register on Companies House. Directors must still provide their business address as a legal requirement.
This comes in response to reports that fraudsters are using this publicly available information to pose as company directors to buy products online. There are also concerns the information is leaving company directors vulnerable to violence and intimidation.
They are twice as likely to be the victims of identity fraud, with company directors being victims in one in five recorded cases, according to research by fraud prevention organisation Cifas.
These new regulations will also help to ensure people feel safe when setting up a new business by protecting directors from identity fraud.
Of course, this will create yet more compliance activity for practitioners, who we assume will need to contact all their director clients, see if they want to take advantage of the new regulations, and make the necessary changes. Unless, the whole process is automated by Companies House?