Guidance

Protect your company from corporate identity theft

How the protected online filing (PROOF) scheme can help you prevent fraudulent changes to your company.

This free service lets you protect your company from unauthorised changes to your records. It prevents the filing of certain paper forms, including:

  • changes to your registered office address
  • changes to your officers (appointments, resignations or personal details)
  • your annual return

It’s important that your company’s records are correct because they’re sometimes used to check its legitimacy if you apply for a loan.

Fraudsters are known to hijack a company by changing the details of the company’s directors and registered office. This leaves the company vulnerable to further fraud.

Companies House deals with around 50 to 100 cases of corporate identity theft every month. If you suspect fraudulent activity against a company you should report this to Companies House.

Join PROOF

Join PROOF using the Companies House online filing service. You’ll need to be registered for online filing.

Once you’ve signed in, complete the following steps:

  1. select the ‘Join PROOF’ link near the padlock icon at the top of the overview screen
  2. agree to the terms and conditions
  3. select ‘Protect this company’

You’ll get an email to let you know if your application has been successful.

Once you’ve joined, the forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online, so:

  • tell anyone who files documents for your company that you’re joining PROOF
  • give them the authentication codes they’ll need to file online

Companies House will reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.

You can leave the PROOF service at any time.

Watch a video demonstration on how to join PROOF

Video demonstration of how to join PROOF

Check if you’re registered for PROOF

Your company’s PROOF status is displayed on its online overview screen and:

  • you’re registered for PROOF if the padlock icon is locked
  • you’re not registered for PROOF if the padlock icon is unlocked
  • your application is in progress if there is a clock icon

When you can’t join PROOF

If your company has an ongoing internal dispute between its officers, you won’t be able join PROOF until it has been resolved.

Leave the PROOF service

To leave the service select the ‘Leave PROOF’ link at the top of your company’s online overview screen. You’ll get an email confirming you’ve left the service.

Once you’ve left the service your company will no longer be protected against fraudulent filings on paper.

Forms covered by PROOF

Limited company forms

Form Description
AR01 Annual Return
AP01 Appointment of director
AP02 Appointment of corporate director
AP03 Appointment of secretary
AP04 Appointment of corporate secretary
CH01 Change of director’s details
CH02 Change of corporate director’s details
CH03 Change of secretary’s details
CH04 Change of corporate secretary’s details
TM01 Termination of appointment of director
TM02 Termination of appointment of secretary
AD01 Change of registered office address

Limited liability partnership (LLP) forms

Form Description
LLAR01 Annual Return
LLAP01 Appointment of a member
LLAP02 Appointment of a corporate member
LLCH01 Change of member’s details
LLCH02 Change of corporate member’s details
LLTM01 Termination of appointment of a member
LLAD01 Change of registered office address

All other documents are accepted on paper if delivered by a company in the PROOF scheme.

Filing paper forms covered by PROOF

If you need to file one of the forms covered by PROOF on paper while you’re still registered for PROOF, you’ll need to complete a paper consent form.

You should only use a paper consent form if absolutely necessary. See the PROOF terms and conditions for more information.

Call the Companies House contact centre on 0303 1234 500 to request a paper consent form.

PROOF terms and conditions

The registrar of companies operates the PROOF scheme under an agreement under section 1070 of the Companies Act 2006.

Any company joining the PROOF scheme does so on the terms set out in the PROOF terms and conditions (PDF, 330KB, 8 pages) .