Guidance

Reporting fraud to Companies House

Updated 16 May 2017

1. Reporting fraud

1.1 Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre for the police. If your details have been used without your consent, report it to:

www.actionfraud.police.uk 0300 123 2040

1.2 The Insolvency Service

The Insolvency Service can investigate limited companies when they receive information that suggests serious corporate abuse. Corporate abuse might include:

  • causing significant harm to customers
  • breaking the law (such as fraud)
  • serious misconduct (such as company assets have not been used properly)
  • significant irregularity in a company’s affairs

Contact the Insolvency Service.

1.3 Further guidance for fraud and identity theft

For further help, visit Citizen’s Advice or Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service.

2. What Companies House does

We incorporate and dissolve limited companies, register the information companies have to send us, and make that information available to the public. We’ll act against companies that fail to deliver their documents. We can remove companies from the register and prosecute directors.

We can help if:

  • an individual has been appointed as an officer without their knowledge or consent
  • a registered office has been changed without the company’s knowledge or consent
  • a company name has been changed without permission
  • an unauthorised address is being used for a registered office or officer’s service address

Protect your company from corporate identity theft with the Companies House protected online filing (PROOF) scheme.

If you suspect you’ve been appointed a company officer without your authority, report it to:

Action Fraud 0300 123 2040

3.1 To apply to remove your details from the register

  1. If the appointment is after 6 April 2016, use a form RP06.
  2. If the appointment is between 1 October 2009 and 5 April 2016, use a form RP02a.
  3. If the company is dissolved, you’ll need to seek legal advice.

If your address has been used without your authority, report it to:

Action Fraud 0300 123 2040

4.1 To apply to remove your address details from the register

  1. If the address was registered on or after 1 October 2009 and the company has never been at the address, use a form RP02a. This form can only be used if your address isn’t being used as the company’s registered office.
  2. If all the company’s addresses, including the registered office are being used without authority, use forms RP07 and RP02a.

If the address was registered on a Companies Act 1985 form, you’ll need an Order of Court to correct the record. Seek independent legal advice in these cases.

Internal company disputes

We won’t become involved or offer advice on disputes between company officers or shareholders, even if they aren’t appointed any more. The company must resolve any differences, and file appropriate documentation with Companies House when the dispute’s resolved.

If a solution can’t be reached, you’ll need to seek your own independent legal advice.

For any other questions, contact integritycomplaints@companieshouse.gov.uk.

5. Known fraud and scams

Information and advice on fraudulent activity and scams we’re aware of, including:

Late filing penalty payment

Companies have been contacted asking for payment of a late filing penalty over the telephone. The caller says they’ll accept a payment of £5 by credit or debit to place a hold on any further action being taken.

We won’t contact you for immediate payment of a late filing penalty or request payment of a nominal fee to place a hold on any recovery action.

Payment plans are set up with the agreement of the manager dealing with your late filing penalty query. We won’t cold call you to take a payment.

Bogus Companies House emails

We’re aware of suspicious emails being sent that claim to be from Companies House. These emails haven’t been generated by us.

Some emails might have an attachment, such as a Word doc, and may ask you to enter an authorisation code. Don’t open any attachments and forward any such emails to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk.

Investigations and Enforcement Services emails

From November 2016, we’ve seen emails claiming to be from the ‘Investigations and Enforcement Services at Companies House’. The email says it’s automatically generated in response to a complaint about a company. Customers are asked to view an attached document. This document has been shown to contain malware. Don’t open this attachment.

The emails have been containing the following text:

Image showing text of malicious email claiming to be from Companies House

Some of these emails have contained the following domains which we don’t use:

  • @companieshouse.me.uk
  • @companies-house.me.uk
  • @companieshouses.com
  • @companieshouses.co.uk
  • @companieshousecomplaints.co.uk
  • @companieshouseemail.co.uk
  • @companieshousesecure.co.uk
  • @cp-securemessage.co.uk

If you’ve received one of these emails forward it to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk and then delete it. Don’t try to view any attachments contained in the email.

Bogus ‘Document Order’ emails

These emails appear to come from a valid Companies House email address but do not. Genuine ‘Document Order’ emails are only produced when a copy of current company information is requested from within our online filing service.

Genuine ‘Document Order’ emails contain your company name and number under an ‘Order detail’ heading, and a reference to the attached PDF of company information. The bogus emails don’t seem contain this individual company information, and the attachment isn’t in a PDF format. Don’t open the attachment.

If you’ve received one of these emails forward it to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk and then delete it. Don’t try to view any attachments contained in the email.

Bogus online filing submission emails

This bogus email claims to be a response to an online filing submission.

Screen grab of bogus email claiming to be from Companies House
Bogus email claiming to be from Companies House

We’re also aware that some customers have been sent emails with the following:

“Thank you for completing a submission Reference # (0516538). Check attachment to confirm acceptance or rejection of this filing”

In any emails from us, we’ll tell you within the body of the email whether your submission has been accepted or rejected. Don’t open the attachment.

If you’ve received one of these emails forward it to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk and then delete it. Do not try to view any attachments contained in the email.

Bogus eReminder requests for accounts

Some people have reported receiving phishing emails in the form of an email reminder to submit accounts. The examples we’ve been shown have an incorrect due date on them. This is your first indication this might not be legitimate.

The phishing emails also say “Please find information in the following link regarding your Company’s annual accounts.” Don’t click this link, as it transfers you to “118enquiries.com” and downloads a zip-file onto your device.

If you’ve received one of these emails forward it to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk and then delete it. Don’t try to view any attachments contained in the email.

Bogus requests to verify your Companies House password

We’ve had reports of people receiving email requests to validate their Companies House email address and password. If you’re not expecting to receive an email to reset your password it may be a scam. Forward it to phishing@companieshouse.gov.uk and then delete it.

The email contains a link to a web page that requests the entry of your email address and password. Always check that the URL (the website address) you’re about to visit is a genuine Companies House or GOV.UK address.

For example, a request for a password reset for our online filing service will have an address that starts: ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk

If the link doesn't contain '.gov.uk' within the address, it's not a Companies House page and is potentially a scam.

Don't enter any details or click any links or buttons. The web page is not linked to our services and will send your details to the scammers.

Screen grab of bogus web page claiming to be from Companies House
Bogus web page claiming to be from Companies House

Suspicious job vacancies

We’re receiving email enquiries about job adverts in the UK. These generally offer highly paid vacancies or opportunities in the oil, hotel or banking industries. The job adverts are often placed in print or on websites to appear genuine.

Treat all job offers with extreme caution. The contact details are usually fake, and you should avoid replying to the providers of these vacancies.

The advert might request money up front before the application can be processed, and they might also mention UK visas. Be sure to check with UK Visas and Immigration for information on applying for a UK visa.

Pension liberation fraud

Pension scams are on the increase in the UK and under some schemes individuals have had limited companies set up in their name. If you believe you’ve had a company set up in your name, seek legal advice before taking any action to close it.

Scams are promoted using terms such as an offer of unique investment opportunities, free pension review, legal loophole, cash bonus or as a government endorsed scheme and victims are being approached via cold calling, text message or in person door to door. You should treat all approaches about your pension with caution if it isn’t from a source you recognise and trust.

If you’re approached, don’t share your personal information or sign any paperwork. You’re able to check whether the offer of service is genuine and the Pension Advisory Service website can help.

The Pensions Regulator offers guidance to help individuals who think that they may have been targeted by pension scams.

Telephone scam warning

Companies have been telephoned by people claiming to be from Companies House, who request details of their company’s directors.

After being advised there’s a discrepancy with the information held on the register, the caller requests information such as full dates of birth for directors.

We’ll never contact you by telephone to find out who your officers are, or ask for secure information such as authentication codes.

If anyone telephones you claiming to be from Companies House asking for this information, try to obtain a return telephone number and contact us immediately on 0303 1234 500.

6. Company register payment requests

Companies registered at Companies House are receiving notifications asking for money to maintain their company on a register.

The companies concerned are receiving what looks like a genuine request from one of the following:

  • New Companies Register
  • Digital Companies Register
  • National Register of Companies
  • Economic Index for Europe
  • Register of Companies and Businesses
  • Scottish Commercial Register (publication of companies)
  • Welsh Commercial Register
  • e-public.co.uk Company Register
  • regist.co.uk

These organisations are not connected to, or endorsed by, either Companies House or GOV.UK and the fee requested is not required to keep the company registered at Companies House.