How can I protect myself?

If a company is listed on does that mean it is genuine?

Yes and No. It is possible for a fraudster to use the credentials of a legitimate company. In almost all cases they will demand payment through unsecured and untraceable methods such as Western Union. Read on for tips to help you decide whether a company is a genuine limited company.

Can you tell me whether a company is genuine?

No, but this section offers advice. Ultimately it is down to you and your common sense as the customer, to carry out the necessary checks and ensure you are dealing with a genuine company. With over 3 million registered companies on our database, we can only comment on the company's financial and credit status based on the data we have.

Tips on Spotting Internet Scams and Company ID Fraud

If you answer yes to three or more of the questions below then our advice would be - Be Very Cautious!

  • Does the seller only accept payment by Western Union or Moneygram? 
  • Scammers often use Western Union and Moneygram to take your money because it is untraceable. Only use Western Union for friends and family. Credit card payments and Pay Pal offer you some security, money transfer is not secure.
  • Does the seller use a free email account? 
  • Look out for the use of free email accounts such as yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail addresses. These are easy to set up and equally easy to delete once they have your money. Report a scammers emails
  • Does the offer sound too good to be true? 
  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Use your common sense, if someone is offering you a great deal on a phone worth hundreds of pounds, this should be considered suspicious.
  • Does the seller use an 070... numbers or mobile numbers? 
  • 070 numbers are high rate, personal numbers costing as much as £2 for a 10 second call. Legitimate companies should not use high rate telephone numbers and equally are unlikely to use a mobile telephone number in place of a land line. 90% of UK limited companies will have a telephone number listed at directory enquiries.
  • Did they direct you to to verify their legitimacy? 
  • is not a government organisation. If a company is listed on our website, it says nothing about the legitimacy of it's trading business. Scammers or Fraudsters pretend to work for legitimate companies from our database and use valid address details, this does not mean the seller is actually a member of that organisation or is entitled to use their identity.
  • Do you get the impression that the seller is operating overseas, but using a UK company name? 
  • The Internet marketplace removes the benefits of direct customer contact. There are no geographical barriers which enables fraudsters to operate from anywhere in the world, protecting them from detection.
  • Have already paid for items and the seller now ignore your emails and messages? 
  • He has your money and it is unlikely you'll receive your goods.
  • Does the seller press for you to increase your order quantity? 
  • Scammers often claim that your parcel contains a higher quantity of items than your ordered and these need to be paid for, before the amount can be corrected and refunded. If this were the case, it would be the fault of the company and they should pay these costs.
  • After purchasing goods has the seller asked you to send more money for goods to clear customs? 
  • The scammer claims that your good are held at customs and custom payments need to be paid before you receive your items. This is common of fraud.
  • Once paid, are you are provided with a shipping number that is ´not found´ or ´invalid´ on the shipping companies website? 
  • Although this may be a genuine mistake. You should investigate it immediately.
  • Is the website poorly designed? 
  • Although a badly designed website does not guarantee it is owned by a scammer, if a bad website is combined with any of the other tips on the page then beware.
  • Was the website registered within the last 3 months? 
  • Check the credibility of the website using a service like
  • Does the seller use incorrectly spelt words and/or bad grammar? 
  • Whilst bad grammar does not confirm fraudulent activity, it is often the case that a scam or fraudster operates from abroad with very little knowledge of UK company law and language. Inaccuracies with regards to company law are also a strong indicator.
  • Did you find the company on a forum, Auction or B2B website? 
  • Scammers post on multiple web forums, increasing their web presence and the likelihood that someone looking for 'cheap mobile phones' or similar, will find their posts through search engines.
  • Does a search in Google yield any mentions of scams? 
  • If you are suspicions of a company you have found on her web, it is likely that someone else has had the same suspicions as you. Internet Scams are extremely common, and the name of legimitate companies are used in a lot of cases, without their knowledge. Search the web to get advice from others.

How to check you are speaking with a company listed on our website:

Contact the Registered Office

If in doubt, write to the company's registered office address - you can find this information for free by searching our website, or call if you can find a telephone number. Ask that they contact you about the sale.

Download Ownership Details

By downloading the Annual Return which is filed once a year, you can cross reference details of the directors/shareholders etc with the details you have been provided by the seller to ensure you are actually speaking with an employee of the real company. Bear in mind however, the fraudster may have done his research and found this information out in the same way. You can find the Annual Return under the company´s filing history by searching our website.

Please note that there have been cases where fraudsters have gone to the trouble of illegally filing documents at Companies House in order to change the company´s registered office address and even director names and then using the false details to trade illegally without the company´s knowledge.

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