Small businesses continue to run afoul of fraudsters as yet another scam has been uncovered. The plan involves thieves trying to obtain authentication codes for Companies House files, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.
The government-owned Companies House lists company details on its web site, which has now become the latest target for the fraudsters. Once access has been gained, files could be used to set up fake companies and to steal money, goods and services, the FSB claimed.
Matthew Knowles, an FSB representative, told CRN: “This is a relatively new phenomenon. Once the fraudsters have the log-in details they can change a firm’s address, order on credit and, after they have received goods, disappear without paying the bill. It could cost a company that falls victim to the scam everything.”
Knowles said Companies House would not call and ask for confidential log-in details.
“Never give out your log-in information,” he added. “If you do get a call from Companies House you need to get confirmation of the call’s authenticity. Get the caller’s number and say you will call back.
“The majority of firms won’t hand such information out, but if you are a small business under pressure and someone calls offering help, sometimes firms will accept this help and live to regret that later.”
Pierre Lams, co-founder of reseller Handheld PCs, said he was not concerned about the threat.
“Anybody asking for our Companies House log-in information would be referred to one of our directors, who would not hand out such information,” he said. “We would ask to call the person back and then get in contact with Companies House.”
Paul Reynolds, a representative from Companies House, said: “We have put a notice on our web site to warn people that we would never ask for secure information. This is just a precaution and part of our fight against fraud.”
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