One of the services offered by Companies House helps combat fraud and protect your company from unauthorised changes to records. The free service is known as the protected online filing (PROOF) scheme and means that any forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online. Companies House will reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.
The use of the PROOF scheme 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
This can help combat fraudsters who try to hijack a company by changing the names of company directors and the registered address of the company. Once this has been done, the company becomes vulnerable to further fraud such as banks accounts being opened in the name of the ‘new’ directors. Companies House deals with around 50 to 100 cases of corporate identity theft every month.
An application to join the PROOF scheme should be made online using the Companies House online filing service.