Companies House took 30 days to take away agency registered at my home

  • Patrick discovered someone had set up a company with his home address 
  • He was told by Companies House that he would have to wait 30 days 

A man whose home address was used by a potential fraudster was told to wait 30 days for Companies House to remove the address.

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

According to the information filed on the register, the company was set up in April and its business is to do with growing crops. 

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

Scam warning: Criminals are using other peoples' addresses to register companies

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

Companies House has been beset by issues with fraudsters using other peoples’ addresses to register new firms

There have been examples where scammers in China set up companies with other people’s addresses and used them to apply for loans or to defraud customers into thinking they are 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 had Chinese and Japanese companies registered to their address.

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

When Patrick (not his real name) discovered he had fallen victim to the scam, he got in touch with Companies House to tell them that someone had used his address without his permission and asked for it to be removed immediately.

He was told that the department would respond within 30 days, which Patrick said concerned him greatly.

‘Surely a fraud could be nipped in the bud if stopped early enough,’ he said.

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

In early May, the company was still showing as active on the Companies House website, complete with Patrick’s address, and so he contacted the register again.

‘Huge backlog’  

Patrick was then bounced around various customer advisers and was eventually told that Companies House was dealing with a huge backlog from early March. 

He was asked to provide proof of his address – details he had given nearly a month earlier.

It is understood that the delay has largely been a result of the new laws introduced in March.

‘I could understand the 30 day rule if I was contacting them on an admin matter, but I am reporting a fraud that is happening right now,’ Patrick told This Is Money. ‘This company can only have been set up for fraudulent purposes.

‘Why would someone who lives in Biggleswade want to start a company in Oldham for farming? I am assuming for fraudulently obtaining start-up grants and such, but because I do not know I am assuming the worst.’

Patrick sent a report to police unit Action Fraud, but was told there was no crime committed as he had not lost money.

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

‘It is ludicrous that I cannot get anyone interested in this when these days, fraud is rife and I am handing everyone the information to catch this person and no-one will do anything about it,’ he said.

This Is Money got in touch with Companies House to ask how fraudsters are still able to register false addresses despite its new powers.

A spokesperson said: ‘We plan to do more checks to determine the accuracy of information which is delivered before it is placed on the register.

‘Within the next couple of years, we will introduce compulsory identity verification checks for new and existing officers and equivalents as well as those filing information with Companies House.

‘These changes will enable us to crack down on misuse of the register.’

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

A spokesman for Companies House said: ‘We are very sorry to hear about what has happened to [Patrick] and other individuals affected by misuse of the company register.

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

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

‘We are dealing with significant volumes of requests to remove information and are working through these as quickly as possible.’

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