Secure your Company from Corporate Identity Theft

The maniacal cruelty and audacity of identity theft criminals have now reached into the corporate world of business companies. In November 2005, the corporate identity theft crime wave reached the UK businesses.

According to brief reports last November, the corporate identity theft cost UK businesses up to £50M a year. Why? What is the modus operandi of these corporate identity thieves? Actually, it has been going on for years now.

Believe it or not, there are criminals posing as company directors on certain companies! Each year, as they see how gullible some people could be, there has been increasing number of them. They order goods that they never pay for and then sell those products for profits thus ripping off suppliers.

As a smokescreen to make them seem legitimate, they register through government agency handling company registrations, change company records and run up credit using company’s name.

Indeed, there are rouges that claim/pretend to be the manager or other illustrious title of a company and check that company’s credit rating. When he/she see that it's good, he starts his game. By forging and filing forms at the government agency where companies are registered, he notifies the appointment of a fictitious new director. He then implies that there’s a new registered office address for the company.

Since the Registrar of Companies cannot check the validity of the documents, and is not obliged by law to check them, they proceed to register them. Afterwards, the thief orders high value goods and services on credit. He/she may use false IDs and then pretend to be a company director.

To countercheck, the supplier may search at Companies House. Since the accuracy of the thief’s claim has been established there already, the supplier will not see anything amiss. However, once the goods are delivered, the fictitious company directory disappears, without paying. The company he represented then suffers the set back.

As of now, according to reports many companies are suffering from this kind of corporate identity theft. It has become a present problem since even smaller companies are as vulnerable as large ones.

A company who has become victim of a corporate identity theft may even find out long after the rouge has taken off. Once they need a loan, they may be surprised of being denied credit and learn that they cannot obtain credit because they already have significant financial obligations. Until they can clear up that these are made by somebody else has accumulated these debts using the company’s name, their business may suffer terribly.

Beware, for this may happen in your company. You must know that it's the medium sized and smaller businesses being targeted.

Security and trust are very important aspects in corporate ethics code. Corporate identity theft seems to have broken the barriers of these ethical bounds.

Whether your business is in UK or in any other part of the globe, avoid falling victim to corporate identity theft. There are simple precautions that you can make sure to make sure corporate identity theft does not taint your company’s good name.

Here are protective measures recommended for companies to prevent other people from pretending to be you.

First, make sure that the thief has not targeted your business. You need to frequently check with the government agency handling company registrations to see if your company’s registered office is accurate. You can do it online by finding out the website of the government agency mentioned.

You can also sign up proof service in order to pre-empt the thief. If your business is in UK, you can file online for PROOF service.

Filing for proof service means that certain changes in the information about your company should only be filed electronically. This must include the changes of company director’s name and your business address.

Once you file for proof service, filing through paper forms will be rejected. There are user name, password and authentication codes used in these electronic forms wherein your documents will be protected and no one else who does not know these codes can access them.

Do not let the tentacles of corporate identity theft get into your company. Stop pretensions of thieves and fight back. Aside from the preventive measures given, companies can find other means of preventing and eventually, stopping the insidious attacks of this crime.

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