Using our address without approval
What happens if i use your virtual address without your approval?
Although it may seem like a small issue and why do we worry about a few companies using our virtual address without our approval. We have thousands registered with our company, so why worry about just a handful right...
The main issue for us is that we are licenced by HMRC to provide Mailbox and Mailing addresses under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Finanacing Regulations for Trust and Service Providers. This ensures that we know who is using our address and why, and in London we are also licenced by Trading Standards so we also have to keep records of all mail we send and to whom. We do this for all our locations and not just London.
Our business relies on us maintaining these licences - we would not be able to operate without them. So if you do come across a virtual office provider do make sure that they are registered for AML!
As you can imagine this means that we treat Money Laundering and our obligations under the regulations very seriously. So, before our address can be used we ask that all customers provide ID, proof of address and also proof of identity ( a photocard). This information has to be less than 3 months old. All applicants details are checked against an online verification database that checks lots of data records from credit agencies, electoral regsiters, telephone records, sanctions lists etc. Anyone applying from outside the UK has to provide certified or notarised ID, which we know can be timely and costly but this alone can deter those that are potentially thinking of using the address for illegal purposes.
Anyone who refuses to provide us with the identification is automatically refused permission to use our address, so that means that every so often we find someone that is using the address without our permission or approval. You have to ask yourseld why would they do this, are they worried about providing the ID, do they just want to not pay for our services and most likely they are up to no good and potentially defrauding people as they want to distance themselves from their actual home address. These individuals and companies put our business and reputation at risk. Equally it also puts our clients reputation at risk if scammers or fake companies are operating out of the same address.
So it is in ours and our clients interests to take measures to rectify it - lets be clear, using our address for non-payment is theft. You are not paying for our services and there is a financial cost to us for that. There is also an issue of idenity theft, a company is portraying being at an address it clearly has no right to be and is in effect "squatting". There are a number of people we can report this to, depending on the type of business and how the address is being misused.
For limited companies found to be using our address at Companies House, we will file an RP07 with Companies House.. our RP07 article can exaplin more..
We will also report the details of the individual and company to Action Fraud and if we think there are serious issues we will file a suspicious activity report to the National Crime Agency. We also are in contact with Trading Standards, who may also bring to our attention, someone who is using our address whom they have concerns about. As part of our Terms and Conditions we always provide client details if the Police or Trading standards are investigating a client, we follow the correct Data Protection rules at all times, but there is no hiding behind our address for anyone wishing to act illegally.
It doesn't happen that often but anyone found to be using the address and then afterwards tries to retrospectively apply for approval will have their application rejected and measures to rectify this will be carried out as outlined above. So, if you want to use our address, do contact us first before filling out any Companies House documents, bank applications or putting on company stationery (email and websites).
We are equally as stringent with current clients that sign up for the the cheapest service and then start to misuse the service, i.e. using us as trading address rather than just a registered office address and vice versa - or register multipl companies at our address - we do find out eventually, espcially when HMRC letters and Companies House letters start to turn up we will return the mail to sender and it will result in us cancelling our services with the client. There may be genuine reasons or errors so we will always listen to why these things happen.
If you have any questions please do contact us via live chat, telephone or contact form.
Title:Using our address without approvalSummary:
This brief article covers how why it is important for virtual office to check the identity of all its clients and what actions we take against individuals and companies we find abusing our address.