Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 12th Apr 18, 1:00 PM
    • 32Posts
    • 30Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Potential fraud issue with previous owner?
    • #1
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:00 PM
    Potential fraud issue with previous owner? 12th Apr 18 at 1:00 PM
    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, I've searched through and it seemed the most appropriate to post this in here.

    When we moved into our new house, we started receiving an incredible amount of post for someone we'd never heard of. As it turned out the previous owner was renting the property out for a while before he sold it to us (we'd been told it had been vacant since his dad died, and when we viewed it was totally empty with no signs of life).

    We ignored it for a while or marked 'return to sender' as we had no forwarding address, but we were getting so much (up to 10 letters a day) I decided to open a couple to see what they were. It turns out that the previous occupant was registering companies to the address, and all of the letters were from Companies House, HMRC, and some accounting firms looking for business.

    I spoke to HMRC and they advised to 'just ignore it and destroy the letters' which didn't sit easily with me, so I lodged a case with the fraud prevention hotline. They said there was nothing they could do but they gave me a case number for my records anyway.

    This was 6 months ago, and we're still receiving post every day. A check of Companies House currently shows 40 companies which either are registered to my address or have been in the past 6 months.

    Is there anything I can or should be doing about this? Can it affect my credit rating, or could I even be pursued by bailiffs?

    I've tried to put it to the back of my mind but it is a bit of a niggling worry that one day there's going to be a knock at my door.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/help.
    Mortgage
    [Jun 2017: 164,995 ] [Jun 2018: 161,238.46][NOW: 159,577]
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Apr 18, 1:04 PM
    • 9,348 Posts
    • 9,982 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:04 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:04 PM
    Is there anything in the mail to suggest the companies were actually trading and/or had debts? It's not going to affect your credit rating anyway.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 12th Apr 18, 1:18 PM
    • 5,730 Posts
    • 8,035 Thanks
    deannatrois
    • #3
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:18 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:18 PM
    I'd advise you to keep some kind of proof of having purchased the property and proof of who you are in a file you can pull out easily, just in case. Then even if bailiffs/sheriffs do call, they can do nothing.

    But that's the worst case scenario. It sounds like you have done all you can.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 12th Apr 18, 1:21 PM
    • 11,147 Posts
    • 14,785 Thanks
    hazyjo
    • #4
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:21 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:21 PM
    Debt etc relates to individuals (not you!), not a property. You cannot be pursued for any of it. Do as deannatrois suggests.


    Keep returning mail, but with 'not known at this address - return to sender' on.
    2018 wins: Single Malt Whisky; theatre tickets; festival tickets; year of gin(!); shoes; Thai cooking stuff; Jo Brand talk; Slime Factory; Flawless tickets; Comedy night tickets; Triominos
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 12th Apr 18, 1:29 PM
    • 30,144 Posts
    • 77,474 Thanks
    Mojisola
    • #5
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:29 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:29 PM
    It would be worth registering for a property alert if you've got fraudsters using your address, just in case they get more adventurous and try to remortgage the property - https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 12th Apr 18, 1:30 PM
    • 5,620 Posts
    • 26,387 Thanks
    Slinky
    • #6
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:30 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:30 PM
    Have they been registered to your address after you moved into it? If so I'd pursue this further with companies house. I'd be pretty peed off if it was me, there's no reason you should put up with a tide of fraudulent letters keep coming through your door.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 12th Apr 18, 1:33 PM
    • 30,144 Posts
    • 77,474 Thanks
    Mojisola
    • #7
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:33 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:33 PM
    Have they been registered to your address after you moved into it? If so I'd pursue this further with companies house. I'd be pretty peed off if it was me, there's no reason you should put up with a tide of fraudulent letters keep coming through your door.
    Originally posted by Slinky
    Having been told that this address was being used fraudulently you'd think that Companies House would put an alert on it and challenge anyone who tries to register a company there.
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 12th Apr 18, 1:37 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    • #8
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:37 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:37 PM
    Debt etc relates to individuals (not you!), not a property. You cannot be pursued for any of it. Do as deannatrois suggests.


    Keep returning mail, but with 'not known at this address - return to sender' on.
    Originally posted by hazyjo
    Thanks, all my mortgage and ID docs are easily accessible at home, and that is what I was doing up until January when I got fed up of going to the post box every other day. I'll start doing that again.

    It would be worth registering for a property alert if you've got fraudsters using your address, just in case they get more adventurous and try to remortgage the property - https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    Brilliant, didn't know that service existed. I've just registered for an account.

    Have they been registered to your address after you moved into it? If so I'd pursue this further with companies house. I'd be pretty peed off if it was me, there's no reason you should put up with a tide of fraudulent letters keep coming through your door.
    Originally posted by Slinky
    Yes, most of the letters are for new companies being registered. Interestingly some of the older companies addresses have been changed, but new ones are being registered at my address every week.
    Mortgage
    [Jun 2017: 164,995 ] [Jun 2018: 161,238.46][NOW: 159,577]
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    • 26,132 Posts
    • 70,566 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #9
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Apr 18, 1:55 PM
    Have you looked to see who the directors are if these new companies?

    It sounds like they set up companies and then sell them on to people 'ready made'. There are companies that do that. The new owner then changes the address to their own legitimately.

    It's weird using your address, but it's not fraudulent unless they do something fraudulent. I wonder why they use your address?!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 12th Apr 18, 2:04 PM
    • 5,620 Posts
    • 26,387 Thanks
    Slinky
    Thanks, all my mortgage and ID docs are easily accessible at home, and that is what I was doing up until January when I got fed up of going to the post box every other day. I'll start doing that again.



    Brilliant, didn't know that service existed. I've just registered for an account.



    Yes, most of the letters are for new companies being registered. Interestingly some of the older companies addresses have been changed, but new ones are being registered at my address every week.
    Originally posted by CarbonImage
    Then I'd take this up with companies house and wouldn't let them fob me off. If they dont' take it seriously, try contacting your local MP.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 12th Apr 18, 2:08 PM
    • 5,620 Posts
    • 26,387 Thanks
    Slinky
    It's weird using your address, but it's not fraudulent unless they do something fraudulent. I wonder why they use your address?!
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Because they don't want a tide of letters coming to their address?!

    Seeing it's easy and cheap enough to set up a company yourself online (mine was under 30 a few years ago), I don't understand why anybody buys 'off the shelf' companies anymore, unless it's to hide something. Afterall if you don't change the shelf address to your's, any trouble arising can head off in somebody else's direction. In this case, the OP.
    • CarbonImage
    • By CarbonImage 12th Apr 18, 2:26 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    CarbonImage
    Have you looked to see who the directors are if these new companies?

    It sounds like they set up companies and then sell them on to people 'ready made'. There are companies that do that. The new owner then changes the address to their own legitimately.

    It's weird using your address, but it's not fraudulent unless they do something fraudulent. I wonder why they use your address?!
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    It's always the same director - the person who I've been told used to rent my house.

    That's what I was thinking about the selling them on to people, but as Slinky says I can't understand who would pay for this or why? And surely they would need some of the documentation that gets sent to me in order to sell the companies on?
    Mortgage
    [Jun 2017: 164,995 ] [Jun 2018: 161,238.46][NOW: 159,577]
    • MysteryMe
    • By MysteryMe 12th Apr 18, 6:50 PM
    • 2,039 Posts
    • 2,490 Thanks
    MysteryMe
    Although you are not personally involved or liable. Your address is almost certainly being being used to facilitate fraud in some shape or form. I would suggest that you do not follow the advice some have given for you do nothing other than return mail.

    Addresses do get linked if a succession of "dodgy companies" have that address in common so I'd report it sooner rather than later. There are credit reports available that show which businesses are registered at X address. They may not be reports that are available to the pubic but they exist.

    Also debt or legal proceedings against these companies will involve correspondence to the registered office and possible visits from bailiffs or worst case scenario and hopefully a remote one of aggrieved people who may have been ripped off by one of these companies. If the only address showing is yours that is where they will turn up.

    It is a legal requirement under the Companies Act for every Ltd Co to have a registered office to which all communications and notices may be addressed.

    It is also a criminal offence for someone to deliberately provide misleading information to Companies House register, which the person setting up those companies is.

    Legitimate company formation businesses do not use random addresses when forming new companies.

    I would report this to Companies House 0303 123 4500

    enquiries@companies-house.gov.uk

    in the first instance and see what they suggest. Make it clear that companies are still being formed using your address long after you have moved in and give them examples.

    I believe Companies House can replace your address with their own address in Cardiff as a default in cases where people's addresses have been hijacked.
    Last edited by MysteryMe; 12-04-2018 at 6:55 PM.
    • dharm999
    • By dharm999 12th Apr 18, 7:23 PM
    • 328 Posts
    • 240 Thanks
    dharm999
    Completely agree with Mystery Me. If it were me, I would check Companies House website for each company, and see who the directors are. They will be paperwork filed that may give you an address for the Director or other people involved in the companies. You can get the info for free from Companies House, just google Companies House beta service, that will allow you to search for info on the companies for free.
    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 12th Apr 18, 7:37 PM
    • 4,607 Posts
    • 2,660 Thanks
    Lorian
    See section 4.1

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reporting-fraud-about-a-company-to-companies-house/reporting-fraud-to-companies-house
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Apr 18, 8:07 PM
    • 9,348 Posts
    • 9,982 Thanks
    davidmcn
    Out of interest, how does any fraud work? People aren't giving credit to these unknown shelf companies, are they?
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 12th Apr 18, 8:48 PM
    • 38,319 Posts
    • 160,993 Thanks
    silvercar
    Out of interest, how does any fraud work? People aren't giving credit to these unknown shelf companies, are they?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Wait until the debt collectors start turning up!

    Or disgruntled customers who turn up after paying for goods they never receive.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 12th Apr 18, 9:17 PM
    • 6,982 Posts
    • 9,196 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reporting-fraud-about-a-company-to-companies-house/reporting-fraud-to-companies-house#address-used-without-consent

    It looks as though there is a specific way to report if your address is being used without your authority - it may be worth asking them if there is any way of doing it in bulk if there are multiple companies being registered inappropriately.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 12th Apr 18, 9:32 PM
    • 9,348 Posts
    • 9,982 Thanks
    davidmcn
    Wait until the debt collectors start turning up!

    Or disgruntled customers who turn up after paying for goods they never receive.
    Originally posted by silvercar
    Yes, but the registered office isn't (necessarily) where the directors or any company assets are located, as it's often just e.g. the company's accountants. And the company may have zero assets anyway. So I'm not sure what the advantage is of using a completely unconnected address.
    Last edited by davidmcn; 12-04-2018 at 9:35 PM.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 12th Apr 18, 10:13 PM
    • 38,319 Posts
    • 160,993 Thanks
    silvercar
    Yes, but the registered office isn't (necessarily) where the directors or any company assets are located, as it's often just e.g. the company's accountants. And the company may have zero assets anyway. So I'm not sure what the advantage is of using a completely unconnected address.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Just saying as it is. We bought off people whose business went bankrupt. They had their registered address as their home and we had all sorts of people turning up - debt collectors, people who had bought stuff in good faith from them and never received goods, charities who were promised donations......was an absolute pain.

    Companies house said there was nothing they could do.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,104Posts Today

6,957Users online

Martin's Twitter