Home Money Someone used my address to register a company at Companies House. Why will it take 30 days to delete it?

Someone used my address to register a company at Companies House. Why will it take 30 days to delete it?

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Scam warning: Criminals are using other people's addresses to register companies
  • Patrick discovered that someone had created a company with his address
  • Companies House told him he would have to wait 30 days.

A man whose home address was used by a would-be scammer was told to wait 30 days for Companies House to remove the address.

Last month Patrick, who asked for his name to be changed, learned that a company had been set up using his address in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

According to the information contained in the registry, the company was established in April and is dedicated to the cultivation of crops.

It is based in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, almost 200 miles from the house where Patrick has lived for 30 years.

Scam warning: Criminals are using other people’s addresses to register companies

Companies House has been beset by problems with scammers using other people’s addresses to register new companies.

There have been examples where fraudsters in China have set up companies with other people’s addresses and used them to apply for loans or defraud customers into believing they were a UK-registered company.

This is Money’s sister title, Money Mail, has reported on the case of a street in Swansea where 18 separate homes had Chinese and Japanese companies registered at their address.

In March, Companies House was given new legal powers to tackle widespread fraud, including greater powers to consult information submitted to the register.

When Patrick (not his real name) discovered he had been a victim of the scam, he contacted Companies House to inform them that someone had used his address without his permission and asked for it to be removed immediately.

He was told the department would respond within 30 days, which Patrick said was very concerning.

“Surely a fraud could be nipped in the bud if it is stopped in time,” he said.

He emailed again later in April to request an update and was again told he would receive a response within 30 days of April 10.

At the beginning of May, the company was still listed as active on the Companies House website, along with Patrick’s address, so he contacted the registry again.

‘Huge delay’

Patrick then met several client advisors and was eventually told that Companies House was dealing with a huge backlog since the beginning of March.

He was asked to provide proof of his address, details he had provided almost a month earlier.

The delay is understood to be largely due to new laws introduced in March.

“I could understand the 30-day rule if I contacted them about an administrative matter, but I’m reporting fraud that’s going on right now,” Patrick told This Is Money. ‘This company can only have been created for fraudulent purposes.

‘Why would anyone who lives in Biggleswade want to start a farming business in Oldham? I suppose it’s about fraudulently obtaining start-up grants and things like that, but since I don’t know, I assume the worst.’

Patrick sent a report to the police Action Fraud unit but was told no crime had been committed because he had not lost any money.

Patrick’s main concern is what the next steps could be in this fraud, which continues.

“It’s ridiculous that I can’t get anyone interested in this when fraud is rife today and I’m giving everyone the information to catch this person and no one will do anything about it,” he said.

This Is Money contacted Companies House to ask how scammers are still able to register fake addresses despite their new powers.

A spokesperson said: “We plan to carry out further checks to determine the accuracy of the information being provided before including it in the register.”

‘Within the next two years, we will introduce mandatory identity verification checks for new and existing civil servants and equivalents, as well as those filing information with Companies House.

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“These changes will allow us to crack down on misuse of the registry.”

In Patrick’s case, it is understood the case should be resolved by the end of May, almost two months after he first reported it.

A Companies House spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry for what has happened to (Patrick) and others affected by the misuse of the company register.

‘A change in the law means that since March we have greater powers to consult and remove fraudulent information and share information with authorities.

‘We are prioritizing cases where people’s names and addresses have been used without their consent.

“We are dealing with significant volumes of requests to delete information and are working on them as quickly as possible.”

At the time of writing, the company is still registered under Patrick’s address.

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