How to Check if a Company is Legitimate

on Monday, 07 November 2016.

In the following article we discuss a few points you can check to assess the legitimacy of another company, you will likely want to use some of your own methods as well. 

We recommend the following in addition to company credit reports as it will provide an extra dimension to the information you have available to you.  Like all other credit report providers, we use information from companies house as well as many other sources of information which is compiled into one full report, so if you have already run a report or plan on doing so you may wish to skip the first step in this guide.

 

Check Companies House

Whilst companies house does not provide credit reports (see here for further explanation) they do provide access to a public register, this details all publicly registered companies such as LTD, PLC and LLP and includes company name, registration number and registered address.

It is an excellent source of information and definitely one of the first places you should look to check that the details you have been given are indeed correct.  You should bear in mind however crooks will endeavour to clone genuine companies, needless to say they will of course use this publicly available information for their own ends.  In the ideal scenario legally binding information such as contracts should be sent to the registered address only.

You can check the companies house register here https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk

 
Internet Search

Another popular source of information is big search engines, Google currently maintain the biggest known dataset of all the search engines.  Google will normally attempt remove personally identifiable information in the public domain but if you are trying to find information on companies this is very rarely a problem.  Directors names for instance are public knowledge and available via Companies House (see above).

 

Ask a Friend

Recommendation is still one of the most reliable sources of information, it is normally advisable to not ask the company themselves for recommendations this makes it far too easy to hide wrongdoings, most likely if someone is dodgy they will give you the contacts of their dodgy colleagues!  Instead try to track down somebody you know or accompany that you can ask that you know is using their products or services.


Social Media

Probably one of the most powerful sources of information currently is social media, the ability to send people messages and request recommendations or feedback either publicly or privately as desired.

If the company has strong following on social media it is worth looking over their recent mentions to see what’s been going on, however not all companies have a social media presence and few companies utilise it fully.  Currently this is only really effective on larger companies although there are a substantial number of exceptions, look up and see what you can find.
 

Further Legitimacy Checks

Some industries in order to operate require belonging to an association or operating under a governing body such as Financial Services Authority.  It is often very easy to check if someone is currently registered either by checking online on their website or phoning the relevant governing body.

 

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We trust you found this information helpful, obviously we cannot make the decisions for you or give you legal advice so it is up to you to arrive at your own conclusion.  As we mentioned earlier we strongly advise adding some of your own checks specific to your requirements.  With many industries there are key indicators which to those who know stand out like a sore thumb if the company is not legitimate.

We also recommend you take a look at our article How to Check a Company for Financial Stability

Marketing Services

In addition to business credit checks we provide a wide range of business services including business to business data cleansing and a wide range of other business services.