Are Richardsons clients better protected from fraud?

As identity fraud hits record levels, surveys show that individuals are not doing enough to protect themselves and company directors are more exposed to the risks!

It is said that company directors can be twice as likely to be the victims of identity theft compared with other members of the public. Criminals in recent years have used the publicly available information at Companies House to target their victims and, as a result, between 2012 and 2015, one fifth of all identity fraud was committed against directors.

Fraudsters are taking advantage of the online presence which is so often associated with running a business and linking this information to directors’ personal profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Once they have assumed the identity of their victim, fraudsters will use their details to sign up to mobile phone contracts and various online retail sites to purchase consumer goods online.

Identity fraud has hit an all time high rising by 68% since 2010. So what can you do to protect yourself? Here at Richardsons we offer a registered office service address, meaning that those signed up to the service show our office as their address on Companies House, rather than their home address, meaning that only minimal personal information is in the public domain.

See the notes below for some of our other top tips for protecting yourself and your company from fraud.

Beware of real life scams!

Over the phone

Mr Richardson receives a call from the bank’s fraud department. A genuine bank number is displayed on his phone screen and the caller is able to confirm payments made by the business. Mr Richardson is suspicious and so says that he will phone back in due course. Mr Richardson phones back to be told that fraudulent activity has been recorded on his account and that funds should be moved to secure accounts. Mr Richardson gives the caller his card details to transfer the funds. The fraudster has kept the phone line open and Mr Richardson is deemed to have helped the fraudster to facilitate the fraud. The funds are quickly withdrawn and lost for good.

Over the phone- How to protect yourself

  • Never disclose your personal details to incoming calls
  • Remember that banks will never ask you to disclose any card or reader information over the phone
  • Be aware that fraudsters can put any number on your phone screen to make the call appear genuine
  • If you are unsure, use a different phone to return the call
  • Authenticate calls

By email

Mrs Richardson receives an email from her online banking asking her to revalidate her online security details. Mrs Richardson clicks on the link which directs her to an online banking homepage and asks her to give her banking credentials to confirm her identity. The email address used was fake and money was withdrawn from the bank account.

By email- How to protect yourself

  • Beware of correspondence which says ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘Dear Sir’ a bank will always address you by your name
  • Check that the email address used matches the email address on the company’s website
  • Remember that the bank will never ask for log in details or link you straight to their page
  • If you do get a suspicious email, inform your bank who will take the steps to shut the address down

By post

Accountant & Sons regularly purchase supplies from BeCareful Limited. Accountant & Sons receive a letter from BeCareful Ltd to notify them of bank account changes. Payment records are updated with the new bank account details. A few months later Accountant & Sons receive a phone call from BeCareful Limited chasing payment of a recent invoice for £30,000. Accountant & Sons were surprised by this as the payment had been made two weeks earlier. The funds had been lost as the letter had come from a fraudster.

This last scenario could be particularly relevant to a number of our clients with small accounts teams. Remember to encourage your staff to remain vigilant and ensure that any bank account changes are confirmed by email with the supplier. Ensuring a diligent review process when it comes to making changes to client contact details will also help.

By post- How to protect yourself

  • Alert your staff
  • Be cautious- bank account details don’t often change regularly or without reason
  • Ensure that you report any attempts at this to Action Fraud

For more advice please visit the following websites:

If you would like to make use of our company secretarial services and help protect yourself against fraud then please contact a member of our team.