The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed new laws taking effect from the end of the summer, designed to protect UK company directors from identity fraudsters.
Under the new legislation, company directors will be permitted to withhold their personal addresses from all documentation filed at Companies House.
At present, all company directors must provide Companies House with their name, personal address and date of birth. Those who don’t wish to have their personal addresses featured on Companies House must apply to have it removed. Furthermore, the relevant authorities will only approve the application if there is proof of serious risk of violence or intimidation.
These snippets of information can be utilised by cybercriminals to put together a successful application for a loan or purchase goods under the name of the victim.
Research published last year by Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, revealed that company directors are twice as likely to be victims of identity theft than other members of the public; due largely to the amount of public data on them accessible to fraudsters.
Some 89,000 cases of identity theft were recorded across the UK in the first half of last year, according to the Cifas report.
Most financial service companies can carry out basic credit checks and potentially release funds once they are given a name, address and date of birth.
Within the Cifas report it was noted that a visible media presence among some company directors also makes them a target for fraudsters to use false identities to purchase goods and services online.
The new laws will mean directors must still provide a business address to Companies House. However, public authorities such as the police and the Pensions Regulator will have access to directors’ personal addresses.
Andrew Griffiths, Small Business Minister, said: “These new laws will protect new and existing business owners from potential harm and identity fraud, while ensuring we maintain our high standards of corporate transparency.
At TaxAssist Accountants we offer clients a registered office service which could be used to protect your personal address information on Companies House. We can handle all communications with Companies House, from VAT returns to corporation tax returns, allowing you to focus on doing what you do best – running your business.