We are hearing about more and more cases of identity fraud, where individuals not only lose money but also find that they cannot get credit due to damage to their credit score.  Fraudsters have learnt to target specific people who are both credit worthy and have widely available public information. Identity fraud has risen by 68% between 2010-2016, reaching a total of 173,000 reported cases last year.

Figure 1: UK Identity fraud (Who are the victims of identity fraud, LexisNexis and Cifas  June 2017)

Portsmouth University fraud research estimates that the cost of fraud against individuals at £9.7bn a year, with identity fraud contributing almost £5.4bn.

And who are the targets of such fraud? a recent report by LexisNexis and Cifas has demonstrated that a disproportionate amount of identity fraud victims (19%) are company directors when only 9% of the population are company directors. This suggests that company directors are twice as likely of being targeted for identity fraud.

Figure 2: Proportion of company directors (Who are the victims of identity fraud, LexisNexis and Cifas June 2017)

Why are company directors such obvious targets? Because they look successful, are more likely to have a good credit score, and their information is publicly available.

Lady Judge, the Chairman of Cifas, a not-for-profit UK fraud prevention association, said the public availability of directors’ details in the register at Companies House register was partly to blame for the high incidence of fraud. As directors’ names, service addresses and dates of birth are available, for free, online.

“There will always be more publicly available information about you if you run your own business compared to other individuals,” said Lady Judge, warning directors to be careful to separate their personal and business lives.

We advise our customers not to use a private/home address as either their company’s registered office or as their directors’ service address when registering a company. We offer a privacy add-on with our company registration for £70, including registered office and service address facilities, to help protect your personal details from prying eyes.

Your identity is valuable keep it private!