City of London Police: “Are They Really a Genuine Client?”

City of London Police: “Are They Really a Genuine Client?”

[caption id="attachment_4005" align="alignleft" width="300"] City of London Police: “Are They Really a Genuine Client?”[/caption]

The City of London Police have issued guidance to spot fraudulent companies that may use business centres as a cover for their illegal activities.

In partnership with Action Fraud and HM Revenue & Customs, The City of London Police have launched Operation Broadway which is aimed at creating a hostile environment for fraudsters and organised criminal gangs.

They have also put together useful tips for things to look out for and hope that business centre operators will train their teams to use these simple techniques to spot potential “at risk” clients.

Landlords and serviced office providers can help themselves by:

  • Obtaining as much information from the prospective client as possible before entering into an agreement with them

  • Obtaining references and carrying out credit checks. References can be forged so ensure they are verified

  • Checking the ID of your prospective client

They go on to point out that criminals using virtual and serviced offices could have a detrimental impact on the provider’s reputation with legitimate businesses sharing the same address as fraudulent ones.

Here is what The City of London Police believe business centres should look for:

  • Office space usually hired under a short term lease agreement

  • Companies using one address for correspondence and another to conduct business from

  • A large amount of outbound phone calls being made, often aggressive cold calling

  • Catalogues and literature being delivered; and evidence of scripts being used to cold call

  • Companies who don’t want their company name displayed in the reception area, despite being physically present in the office

  • Payment for the lease agreement in cash and all paid up front

  • Companies who change name or take on additional company names

HM Revenue & Customs has produced an anti-money laundering guidance document for companies like business centres and virtual office providers, which can be downloaded HERE. It sets out legal requirements and good practice to help businesses comply with anti-money laundering legislation.

More information about money laundering and compliance can be found on The BCA website HERE.

Download the Operation Broadway PDF Op Broadway eshot NEW

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