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New laws to protect company directors from fraud

Dickon Sandbach

The Government is introducing new laws to allow company directors to remove their personal address from the company register at Companies House.  

The new laws, which take effect by the end of Summer 2018, are being introduced to combat identity fraud. 

Research from fraud prevention organisation Cifas found that 19% of fraud victims are company directors and they are one of the most at risk groups for this type of crime. 

Under the new laws, directors can replace their personal addresses with an alternative one, like a company address, where they can be contacted to ensure companies meet their legal requirements.

Currently, company directors have to provide name, address and date of birth to Companies House, (making it easy for fraudsters to use the information to purchase goods online or to apply for a loan) and personal addresses can only be removed when Companies House and the relevant authorities judge there is a serious risk of violence or intimidation as a result of the company’s work.

Company Directors can use a ‘service’ address which could be the company’s registered office or another similarly appropriate address - however when forms are filed to change an address the old and new details are currently retained on the record so if personal addresses have been used in the past then there is still a risk of them being used fraudulently.

It is also possible to put a ‘watch’ on the companies house record so if anything is changed a notification is provided – that way if it is a fraudulent change you know immediately and can notify Companies House.