After becoming a registered limited company entering the world of a small business can come with some risks. Identify fraud can be a problem if you don’t take the right precautions to stop criminals exploiting data. But don’t panic: there are plenty of ways you can learn to protect your company directors.

Fraud and identity theft: what’s all the fuss about?

Make no mistake: fraud affects 1 in 4 small businesses every year. In 2016, small businesses lost approximately £18.9 billion to fraud, with many reporting losses of around 5% of their annual revenue. Another report by Cifas, the fraud prevention service, revealed that nearly 19% of identity fraud victims are company directors. Making it a huge setback for any small business just finding their feet

Why are company director’s targets?

Behind most small businesses are passionate company directors who invest their money and time into ensuring their businesses survive. Criminals know this and will target company directors deliberately.

On top of this, it can be easy to access directors’ personal details (names, addresses and dates of birth which are free to members of the public online). Barbara Judge, chairman of Cifas and the Institute of Directors pointed out that fraudsters use public information combined with photos found on online profiles, and details logged with banks, insurance, utilities and services companies.

Though company directors are at risk, there are plenty of things you can do to safeguard your identity.

1. Be careful what you make public

Fraudsters are experts at finding bits of data and piecing them together to create an overall picture of your identity. To prevent this, ensure you think hard about the information about you that is accessible to the public. Review your privacy settings and the personal information that already exists in the public domain, and switch your Instagram and Facebook accounts to “private” just in case.

2. Keep a close eye on your accounts

Check your credit file and your accounts regularly and look out for unusual changes. One problem companies experience is fraudsters who submit forms to Companies House which allow them to change the names of company directors and even the company’s registered office address. Once that’s done, the “new” directors can open their own new bank accounts, and have goods delivered to “different” addresses.

The quicker you become aware that your details have been used fraudulently, the easier it’ll be to minimise the damage, and the higher the chance of preventing heavy losses.

3. Use a Registered Agent Service

Use a reliable and safe Registered Agent Service that ensures you fulfil the necessary legal registration requirements, whilst keeping company directors’ addresses off the company register and out of public hands. We have a Registered Agent Address Service especially for that purpose: to keep your details secure from identity theft, give you peace of mind and responsibly mail to you, ensuring you don’t miss any important letters.

As a small business owner, the safety of your data and risk of identity fraud should be front of mind, not just for your own benefit, but for any other company directors too. Don’t take any risks – start getting your company in shape now.

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