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Press Notice
CHPN 01/05 (GEN)
DATE 31 January 2005

COMPANIES HOUSE COMBATS FRAUD

Companies House has introduced two new electronic services to help companies avoid fraud. A small but growing number of our customers are finding themselves at risk of “company hijack”. This happens when a criminal forges a document changing the address of a company to one that they control. They may then use this “stolen” company to order goods and services, trading off the company’s creditworthiness.

PROOF (PROtected Online Filing) was introduced on 17 January to provide added security for companies filing documents with us. If a company decides to sign up to PROOF Companies House will accept specific statutory forms in electronic format only, and will refuse any paper submissions of the form. PROOF is available to any customer who has signed up to file information with us electronically.

We have also enhanced the Companies House Monitor service, making it available electronically to our Companies House Direct (CHD) subscribers. Monitor allows customers to keep an eye on a number of companies and ‘monitor’ which documents they file with Companies House. The Monitor service helps to combat fraud by alerting companies to any unauthorised changes to their company record. Customers can also use it to keep up to date on their suppliers, customers or competitors.

Tom Smith, Director of Customer Delivery said:

‘This kind of fraud is still rare, but it is growing. That is why we are offering our customers a simple three step plan to protect themselves. Firstly, sign up to send us your information electronically – it’s quicker, cheaper and safer. Secondly, use PROOF to stop a fraudster sending us forged pieces of paper. Thirdly, use MONITOR to double check that the information we hold about you is what it should be. You buy a lot of protection for very little money.’

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • Companies House is the DTI agency, with responsibility for the incorporation and dissolution of companies; for the registration of information supplied by them under the Companies Act and related legislation, and for making this information available to the public.
  • Forms that can be submitted electronically under the new PROOF scheme are the 288a, 288b, 288c and 287 and 363s (annual return shuttle).
  • The Monitor service is available at a cost of 0.50p per company monitored and each request will run for a 12-month period. After this period, you can choose to renew or cancel the monitoring. You can also Edit or Delete a monitored company at any time, through the new ‘self service’ functionality. Payment is made via the Companies House Direct invoicing process, customers will receive a monthly statement and invoice which has to be paid in 30 days. Customers can also use this service to keep up to date with their suppliers, customers or competitors.
  • PROOF is available free of charge to any customer who has signed up to file electronically. Our electronic customers also benefit from an enhanced service – all information submitted to us is checked automatically for errors before submission and received and acknowledged by us instantly. They also benefit from lower prices – filing your Annual Return electronically costs £15; filing it on paper costs £30.
  • See www.companieshouse.gov.uk for more information on Companies House’s services."
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