Business scam warning! Fake letter could tie you in to fees of up to £2,400

Business scam warning for Hertfordshire PNL-140528-095812001
Business scam warning for Hertfordshire PNL-140528-095812001

Don’t fall foul of official-looking UK Corporate Portal scam, business group warns.

A business group with members across Hertfordshire is warning companies to beware an official-looking scam.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the county has been made aware of the reincarnation of the UK Corporate Portal letter which was also sent in 2013.

Pam Charman, chairman of Hertfordshire FSB, said: “Trading standards across the border in Bedfordshire have issued an alert over this letter, which we re-iterate.

“We are concerned that businesses in Hertfordshire may believe the letter to be from an official source, which is not the case.

“The issue is they sign and return the form to confirm their details they could end up tied in to the high costs of an entry in this publication.

“Anyone who receives this letter should be aware that they are not obliged to provide any information to the company and entries do not have to appear on the website referred to in the letter.”

The “UK Corporate Portal” letter is part of a mail-shot which has been sent by a German business and is headed “Publication of companies and VAT Registration Numbers in the UK Corporate Portal 2014”.

The same letter was also sent during a period in 2013.

The letter claims that due to a change to the “EU Economic Package”, which requires all companies to provide their VAT Registration Number on various business documents, the “UK Corporate Portal” is now also required to update each company’s business data on its own database as a “basic data entry”.

The letter also has a form enclosed, which is partially completed with the addressee’s details.

It is requested that if the addressee opts for more than a “basic data entry” they should complete any missing details, sign and return the form. However, in doing so, the addressee will incur an annual fee of £797 over a term of three years, which will result in a bill of nearly £2400.

Pam added: “Our advice to businesses would be to ignore the letter and do not respond to the sender in anyway. The letter appears to be official, but it is not.”