Love your business enough to protect it from corporate identity theft

protect blog header

Do you love your business enough to protect it?

You probably created your product or service because you wanted to help others, have flexibility, and achieve your dreams. You definitely want to protect it in every possible way!

Protect it from what, you ask?

Corporate Identity Theft. 


What is Corporate Identity Theft?

Corporate identity theft is when someone pretends to be a real company to steal secret information or do illegal things. They might use tricks like taking mail or breaking into computers to get the info they need. Then they use that info to make fake documents and pretend to be the real company.


This can lead to big problems like losing money, hurting the company’s name, and breaking the law.


How can I protect my company?

Fraudsters are known to hijack a company by changing the details of the company’s directors and registered office, leaving the company vulnerable to further fraud.

You may wonder how a fraudster can change the details of a company. They frequently use paper forms with falsified information and false signatures to make changes to your Companies House record.

Companies House, thankfully, provides a free service called PROOF that allows you to protect your company from unauthorised changes to your records.


What is PROOF?

PROOF prevents the submission of certain paper forms, such as:

  • changes to your registered office address
  • changes to your officers (appointments, resignations, or personal details)
  • changes to your company name by special resolution

It’s important that your company’s records are correct because they’re sometimes used to check its legitimacy if you apply for a loan.

How do I join PROOF?

Before I explain how, I’d like to mention that the good news is that if you are a PPF client, we will take care of this for you (unless you opt out).

If you aren’t already a client of ours or would like to sort it yourself, here’s how.

PROOF can be joined through Companies House’s online filing service. You’ll need to be registered for online filings first.

Once you’ve signed in, complete the following steps:


  1. Select the ‘Join PROOF’ link near the padlock icon at the top of the overview screen.
  2. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Select ‘Protect this company’.


You’ll get an email to let you know if your application has been successful.


Once you’ve joined, the forms covered by PROOF can only be filed online, so:


  • tell anyone who files documents for your company that you’re joining PROOF
  • give them the authentication codes they’ll need to file online


Companies House will reject any paper versions of the forms and send them back to the registered office address.

Here’s a quick video from Companies House showing you how to do it. 

Please note: if your company has an ongoing internal dispute between its officers, you will not be able to join PROOF until it has been resolved.


How can I check if we’re already registered?

Your company’s PROOF status is displayed on its online overview screen and:

  • If the padlock icon is locked, you are registered for PROOF.
  • If the padlock icon is unlocked, you are not registered for PROOF.
  • Your application is in progress if there is a clock icon.


What if I want to leave the PROOF service

To leave the service select the ‘Leave PROOF’ link at the top of your company’s online overview screen. You’ll get an email confirming you’ve left the service.

After you’ve left the service, your company will no longer be protected against fraudulent filings on paper.


Forms covered by PROOF

Limited company forms

Form Description
AR01 Annual Return
AP01 Appointment of director
AP02 Appointment of corporate director
AP03 Appointment of secretary
AP04 Appointment of corporate secretary
CH01 Change of director’s details
CH02 Change of corporate director’s details
CH03 Change of secretary’s details
CH04 Change of corporate secretary’s details
TM01 Termination of appointment of director
TM02 Termination of appointment of secretary
AD01 Change of registered office address
NM01 Change of company name
Change of company name by special resolution  

Limited liability partnership (LLP) forms

Form Description
LL AR01 Annual Return
LL AP01 Appointment of a member
LL AP02 Appointment of a corporate member
LL CH01 Change of member’s details
LL CH02 Change of corporate member’s details
LL TM01 Termination of appointment of a member
LL AD01 Change of registered office address

In June 2016, the annual return was replaced by the confirmation statement. These forms are not in the PROOF scheme.

All other documents are accepted on paper if delivered by a company in the PROOF scheme.

What if I need to file a paper form covered by PROOF?

If you need to file one of the forms covered by PROOF on paper while you’re still registered, you’ll need to complete a paper consent form.

You should only use a paper consent form if absolutely necessary. You can call the Companies House contact centre on 0303 1234 500 to request a paper consent form.

Companies House deals with around 50 to 100 cases of corporate identity theft every month. If you suspect fraudulent activity against a company you should report this to Companies House.


If you want to work with an accountant that has your back and wants to protect your business as much as you do, head over to our Get Started page and complete our quick questionnaire.