Companies House ID Theft Warning
I little break from the normal posts, but this is my true story which has eaten much of the last week trying to get things sorted.
I received a letter on Monday advising me that my application for a storecard had been refused. Interesting because I had never applied for any storecard. A quick look on Noddle showed several other searches and applications in my name, a few days on and I am still not 100% certain whether anything was obtained by the fraudsters.
Many of my clients will know that I get things done as I am like a dog with a bone, I am not a bad looser in sport but I am competitive and that edge sometimes takes over. This is what happened and I started to put together what information the fraudsters knew about me.
The storecard application got my personal information pretty accurate. There were a couple of obvious errors (I won’t say what) but these pointed me toward where I think the majority of the information about me came from. My concern is this may be a risk to you also.
At Companies House I am the director of my company, the records here show my home address, some of my date of birth and what appears to be my job and main employment. In other words most of what is needed to apply for credit.
The rest of what is needed could be found on Linkedin, I had several birthday wishes last week from Linkedin connections, but I have no idea who the second and third degree Linkedin connections are.
This meant that between Linkedin and Companies House I was completely exposed.
I do a lot of work with credit and understand credit reports, so let me give you some tips based on my own sore experience.
ID Theft Tips
- Change your director address on Companies House to the company correspondence address. Make sure your correspondence address is either the office, or if you work from home your accountant or a virtual office address. It is form CH01 if you are interested
- Being an adult, sometimes getting a year older isn’t what it was. Remove your birthday from obvious sources such as Linkedin
- Use a credit report service. I like Noddle as it is free. Anything unusual then dispute it immediately
- Freedom of Information Act. Use this act to get all the information about any unusual activity or application in your name. Use the standard FoI Act wording and send the letter to everyone you need to. It is fairly painless to do, one letter and a little copy and paste of addresses
- CIFAS. The fraud awareness system which generally appears on the last page of your credit report. Normally a lender will report a fraudulent application against your name to CIFAS but you can register things yourself for about £20. This means that when an application for credit is made that CIFAS are informed and your ID will be double checked. CIFAS registers this against the three main credit reference agencies, Experian, Equifax and Callcredit
As for my fraud, I am still trying to unwind it. If you do find yourself a victim and want some help with things then give me a bell. In the meantime I wait for my Freedom of Information Act request for the storecard details and accompanying CCTV footage, I am not finished with this one yet…
By Dave Farmer
Lime Consultancy are a commercial finance specialist based at Gatwick. We make business lending simple for our companies, property investors and business clients. Any comments about this post then please add them above or contact us direct.