The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that SMEs need to do more to protect themselves from corporate identity theft.
The warning coincided with last week’s National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.
David Croucher, FSB home affairs chairman, said: “Corporate identity theft may involve stealing the identity of a company and fraudulently trading under that name without the knowledge of the legitimate company. The consequences for small businesses can be catastrophic.”
Simon Briault, an FSB representative, said: “Small firms should regularly check their credit rating. If a small business has been a victim of ID theft and the fraudulent business has conducted transactions and not paid for them, it would appear on their credit rating. Also shredding all documents such as bills, receipts and direct mail is vital.”
Paul Reynolds, head of corporate affairs at Companies House, told CRN: “The FSB is talking about company hijacks. We receive 50,000 documents a month and about 25 of those might relate to that type of fraud. To try to prevent fraud, we set up Operation Sterling in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police.”
Operation Sterling (CRN, 27 June) is a three-point plan consisting of electronic filing, protected online filing and the Companies House Monitor scheme, which sends out alerts and copies of any documents received to registered companies.
“To date 60,000 companies have signed up to Operation Sterling but we would obviously like more. It is free for companies to register,” added Reynolds.
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