Protecting your company from fraud and scams
How to protect your company from scams and fraud and how to report it.
- Register for online filing
- Keep your authentication code safe
- Sign up to our PROOF scheme
- Use our free Follow service
- Choose the right correspondence address
- Check website addresses are genuine
- Be aware of scam emails and telephone calls
- Report fraud
- Unregistered cryptoasset businesses
There are separate procedures if you want to:
- complain about a limited company
- report a company using your personal details without your permission
Register for online filing
Our online filing service offers many advantages over filing on paper.
It’s a quicker and more secure way to send us your company information, and there are built-in checks to help you avoid errors or rejection. You’ll also get an automatic email acknowledgement when we receive your submission.
Keep your authentication code safe
The authentication code is a 6 digit alphanumeric code we issue to each company. It’s used to authorise information filed online and is the equivalent of a company officer’s signature.
You should treat your company’s authentication code with the same care as your bank card PIN. Anyone who knows your code can change your company’s details online.
Here are some tips for looking after your authentication code:
- If you decide to change your code to something more memorable, mix letters and numbers so your code is not easy to guess.
- Only share your code with someone you trust to file information for your company.
- If your code becomes known by someone you do not trust, then change it.
- Change your code if it’s known by someone no longer authorised to file information for your company (such as staff who’ve left your company or your previous accountant).
We’ll never ask for your authentication code over the phone or by email.
If you’re contacted by someone asking for your code and claiming to be from Companies House, you should contact us immediately.
Sign up to our PROOF scheme
The protected online filing (PROOF) schemecan help you protect your company from unauthorised changes to your records by preventing the filing of certain paper forms. These include changes to your registered office address or officers (appointments, resignations or personal details).
When you sign up to the free service, any forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online. We’ll reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.
Signing up to the service is quick and easy and can help you prevent fraudulent changes to your company. You can also leave the PROOF service at any time.
Use our free Follow service
Follow is a part of our free Companies House service (CHS) which lets you receive email alerts of company transactions. The alert tells you instantly what’s been filed with us as soon as it’s been accepted.
The email will contain a link to the filing history of the company where you can download a copy of the document for free.
You’ll also receive an alert when we remove a transaction.
If you’re a company director or auditor, the Follow service is a convenient way to keep track of changes to a company. You’ll be alerted to any transactions on your company, so you can quickly address any problems.
Choose the right correspondence address
It’s important to understand the differences between each address type and what address information is available to the public on the Companies House register.
You do not need to use your home address as your correspondence (service) address, or your company’s registered office address.
If you run your company from home and do not want your home address made public, you’ll need to consider using a different address as your service and registered office address.
If a director chooses to use their home address as their service address or the company’s registered office address, it will appear on the public Companies House register.
If you only have your home address to use, there are third-party service providers and agents who can provide registered office services. All providers of registered office services will charge a fee for their services.
If you decide to use a registered office service, it’s important to have it in place before you incorporate your company.
You cannot remove a registered office address from a company’s record after incorporation, even if it’s your home address. Any changes or previous addresses will remain on the Companies House register and available to the public.
There are laws to help you protect your home address on the public record, or remove it from publicly available documents.
Check website addresses are genuine
If you receive a suspicious email with a link to a web page that asks for your email address and password, it may be a scam.
Always check that the URL (the website address) you’re about to visit is a genuine Companies House or GOV.UK address. For example, a request to reset your password for our online filing service will have an address that starts: ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk
If the link does not contain ‘.gov.uk’ within the address, it’s not a Companies House page and could be a scam. Do not enter any details or click any links or buttons. The web page is not linked to our services and will send your details to the scammers.
If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to email@example.com and then delete it.
Do not open any attachments or disclose personal information.
Be aware of scam emails and telephone calls
We’ll never contact you by email or telephone to find out who your officers are, or to ask for secure information such as authentication codes.
If you receive a suspicious email with an attachment asking you to enter personal information such as an authorisation code, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
Do not open any attachments or disclose personal information.
If anyone calls you claiming to be from Companies House and asks you for this information, you should try to get a return telephone number and contact us immediately on 0303 1234 500.
Read more about known scams pretending to be from Companies House.
Follow the correct procedures for reporting fraud and cyber crime. You can help prevent others from becoming a victim.
If you receive a suspicious letter, invoice or telephone call, contact us immediately on 0303 1234 500.
If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to email@example.com and then delete it. Do not try to view any attachments contained in the email.
Action Fraud is the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre for the police. If your details have been used without your consent, or you suspect fraudulent activity, report it to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.
We keep our website and social media channels up-to-date with any known fraud and scams. This helps you to stay informed, as well as providing information on what you should do if you come across fraudsters and how to help protect yourself.
Unregistered cryptoasset businesses
From 10 January 2020, firms carrying out specific cryptoasset activities in the UK must register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- check the list of unregistered cryptoasset businesses
- check if the firm you’re dealing with is registered for cryptoasset activities
Published 10 June 2020Companies House Guidance