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Identity scam warning from businessman
5:00am Tuesday 4th March 2014 in News
A DIRECTOR of a Hampshire firm has issued a warning after falling victim to the latest identity fraud scam targeting business owners across the country.
Mike Finlason’s personal details were stolen by criminals and used to apply for a credit card.
The documentary-maker and producer says the conmen used his details, obtained from the Companies House website, to order a top-of-the-range mobile phone and watch.
Now he has warned other business owners could be at risk unless the organisation adopts new measures to protect the personal information of more than three million limited company owners on its directories.
The 70-year-old realised something was wrong when a mystery package from Argos containing the Sony Xperia phone and Sony Smart Watch 2 arrived on his doorstep in Fareham.
He discovered they were ordered with a credit card in his name and had been placed using an email address in St Petersburg, Russia.
The applicant had set up the card – which Argos has since cancelled – by trawling the Companies House website for his details.
They even listed his job as director of My Music Ltd – a company he registered with the agency in the 1990s but never operated.
Investigators told him that applicants normally intercept packages before they reach addresses or they send bogus couriers to visit the homes, claiming the parcels have been delivered mistakenly.
Mr Finlason has spent 50 years producing and directing shows including The Cook Report and Serves You Right.
He said: “I felt very daunted that people have been using my information in this way. In today’s world there is a huge amount of information out there which these people have managed to get hold of. Anyone else could fall victim to this.”
The father-of-two has also urged Companies House to scale back the extent of personal details listed on its site.
A spokeswoman for Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, was unable to comment on specific cases but stressed it had stringent measures in place to combat fraudsters.
She said: “On occasion, we are unable to identify fraud before goods are dispatched or credit is accepted.
“But we always do our utmost to recoup any losses and protect victims.”
A spokeswoman for Companies House stressed the details are needed to ensure firms are regulated, accountable and contactable.
But the agency is consulting on whether to remove people’s date of birth from public records.
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