Scams targeting newly formed companies

19 June, 2024 · 5 min read

When new companies are registered at Companies House, the company information is made publicly available and it’s standard for company directors to be contacted by a range of financial institutions (including ANNA!) offering their services.

However, in recent months there’s been an increase in scam letters targeting newly formed companies.

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Company Registry scam

Imagine the scenario. You’ve paid £50 to register your company with Companies House and a few days later an official-looking letter arrives at your registered address telling you that you have to pay extra to ‘confirm’ or ‘activate’ your company. In some cases the letter may actually say that it comes from Companies House itself.

This letter mimics an official document, but it calls for you to urgently send money to the scammers
This letter mimics an official document, but it calls for you to urgently send money to the scammers

A number of ANNA customers contacted our customer support team to say that they’ve received letters from Company Registry. The letters come with a reference number and say that the customer’s company status is pending and unclaimed, and that action needs to be taken by paying £47 to activate their account.

The letter strongly gives the impression that unless the customer quickly pays the fee, their company will still be ‘pending’ and won’t be fully activated.

Company Registry has nothing to do with Companies House and customers can happily ignore the letters as they are nothing more than an attempt to convince people to sign up to their data storage systems.
You can read about this and other similar scams on the Companies House website.

Fake Companies House scam

More worryingly, we’ve also seen fake letters claiming to be from Companies House, telling customers that they need to pay an additional fee of £48 for ‘enhanced web filing access’. The letter has a Companies House logo and looks genuine, but includes a payment URL and QR code that goes straight to the scammer’s bank accounts.

A scam letter claiming to be sent from HMRC
A scam letter claiming to be sent from HMRC

At first glance the letter looks convincing, but a closer look shows layout mistakes and clumsy grammar. However, as with many scams the letter tries to panic recipients by saying that they have just 7 days to pay, if you were in a hurry,  it would be easy to mistake the letter for a genuine communication from Companies House and end up paying out.
Companies House is aware of this scam, and has covered it on social media.

Some tips for avoiding scams

  • Remember: Companies House doesn’t require additional payments for activation or confirmation – once your company is registered, it’s active
  • While some interactions with Companies House will  have fees (such as late filing of annual accounts) they won’t normally be sprung on you unexpectedly through a letter
  • Legitimate invoices usually give you plenty of time to pay, not a rushed 7-day deadline
  • If you’re asked to pay something, always check with Companies House first. Google their number – don’t trust the number on the letter or email

Stay safe with ANNA. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these scams or just want to focus on your business, consider an ANNA business account or ANNA +Taxes. With ANNA you’re not alone, and we can tackle any obstacles together.  If you do get scam letters, report them to us and Companies House so we can spread the word to protect other businesses.

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