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Online UK business registration security checks create opportunities for fraudsters.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The stringency of the administrative arrangements that allow people in the UK to set up businesses online has recently been called into question by the chairman of the Fraud Advisory Panel, Ros Wright. Of the 500,000 companies registered in the UK in the past 12 months, around a third of these have been set up online, where the administrative process differs. Setting up a business online allows individuals to side-step identity checks and even forego providing a proof of address.

"It's easier to register a business in the UK than almost anywhere else...Companies House only does basic checks and little to verify the information submitted. The abuse of incorporation to commit fraud can have a profoundly negative impact on the economy; ripping off suppliers, creditors, customers and the public purse...We would like to see far more stringent checks. It is a Wild West out there." says Ms Wright.

The Association of Company Registration Agents has called for the online service to meet the same standards as the physical registration, or withdraw the service.

A spokesman for Companies House said ‘We make every effort, under existing limitations, to make sure the register’s integrity is maintained. Our digital service is efficient and cost effective. It is part of the Government’s agenda to streamline business.’