What you can and can't report to Companies House regarding fraud
When you feel like a company has committed fraud, your first thought could be to contact Companies House and notify them. However, there may not be anything they can do about it, which can lead to confusion over who you should report it to and when you should report it. This blog post will cover what you should report to Companies House and other useful organisations you can report to.
What can you report to Companies House?
Companies House can only deal with fraud relating to files that have been submitted to them. You should contact them if you have concerns with any of the following:
- A registered office has been changed without the knowledge or consent of the company
- An individual has been appointed as an officer without their consent or knowledge.
- A company name has been changed without permission.
- An unauthorised address is being used as a registered office or officer's service address.
If you feel that any of the above has happened, you can email [email protected] and give as much information as possible, including your own contact details, so that Companies House are able to fully investigate your concerns.
What can't Companies House do?
It may come as a surprise, but Companies House cannot investigate claims made against how companies are run. What Companies House can and can't do is largely determined by the Companies Act 2006.
Any allegations of fraud should be reported directly to the police who will then launch their own investigation. They will liaise with Companies House in order to gather all required information.
Many people contact Companies House thinking that they will be able to intervene in internal disputes. This isn't the case, mainly because Companies House deals with the company in its entirety and therefore is unable to take sides. If your company is going through internal disputes, whether this is with current or past officers, you should look at seeking personal legal representation in order to resolve it.
What other help is available?
To help guard your company against fraud, sign up to the Companies House Protected Online Filing Service (PROOF). This is a free service which offers additional protection against identity theft for your business. This service means you will only be able to file changes online, any changes submitted on paper will be automatically rejected.
If your complaint is regarding the conduct of a company or its officers then contacting The Insolvency Service may be a good start for you. On their website they have information about how to complain about a limited company.
The Insolvency Service has a dedicated Company Investigations Team who has the power to investigate and information received that suggests corporate abuse e.g. serious misconduct, fraud or scams.
There's further advice and support available from Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre.
If you're afraid of identity theft Cifas are a not-for-profit company that works to protect businesses, charities, public bodies and individuals from financial crime and identity fraud.
Companies House also keeps their website up-to-date with the latest known fraud scams as well as providing information on what you should do if you feel you've come across fraudsters.
Hopefully this post has given you a better understanding of when to involve Companies House, and who you should contact if they are unable to help with your concern. If you're still unsure, speaking to someone such as Cifas would be a good start and they can hopefully point you in the right direction.