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Welcome to scam street: How 18 households on a very ordinary road in Swansea found dozens of mysterious Chinese firms have registered at their addresses – and are supposedly rearing buffalo and growing grapes! So should they fear bailiffs turning up?


Michelle Goosey was confused when post addressed to Chinese and Japanese nationals started to arrive at her property on a quiet enclave in Swansea last December.

She opened the first few letters to find they were from Companies House congratulating Ai Matsushika, Mingqin Lin and Jingyun Wu on their new businesses.

The nursing student, 35, and her 58-year-old father, Vivian, have lived in the three-bedroom semi-detached house on Rhos Road for more than 20 years — and didn’t know anyone by these names.

Michelle and Vivian received more than 20 letters in just a few weeks, between December and the end of January 2023. 

Firms: At least 48 companies have been set up at homes on Rhos Road since November 2023, the majority of which have been registered by Chinese nationals

Firms: At least 48 companies have been set up at homes on Rhos Road since November 2023, the majority of which have been registered by Chinese nationals

The mysterious mail kept coming for two months, with bizarre information about three new businesses said to be registered at their address: two of them supposedly rearing cattle and buffalo and another growing grapes.

The plot thickened when a neighbour across the street said she was receiving strange letters, too.

Michelle says: ‘The letters kept coming from HMRC and Companies House so I told the postman that I didn’t know what was going on. But then one of my neighbours mentioned it, too — she phoned the police about it.’

It turned out, Michelle and her father are among at least 18 households on Rhos Road to receive the baffling communications.

At least 48 companies have been set up at homes on Rhos Road since November 2023, the majority of which have been registered by Chinese nationals, according to a Money Mail probe of records at Companies House.

As of yesterday, this included 39 cattle and buffalo-rearing companies, two companies growing citrus fruits and an assortment of other firms ranging from manufacturers of inorganic basic chemicals to one that raises swine.

Two archbishops, two archivists and a banker had also seemingly been registered as company directors purporting to run businesses on the street.

It was only once the neighbours started to share information that they realised the scale of the problem and just how many households had been targeted.

Although it amused some at first, having a fake company registered at your address can cause havoc — and in the worst cases risks bailiffs turning up if the company has run up debts.

Kelly Marmont, 42, who lives three doors down from Michelle, thought someone had got a hold of her card details when she first received the letters in December. 

They informed her that two companies had been set up at her address called Qianyishuju Ltd and Xiananzhinengkeji Ltd.

The mother of six, who has lived in the area for 15 years, says: ‘I thought I was being ripped off somehow — it didn’t make sense. I had one letter from HMRC, so I rang them to say that no one with those names lived here. But the letters kept coming.’

However, these letters aren’t just nuisance junk mail that can be ignored. Kathryn Westmore, of defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says criminals often mass register fake companies at random UK addresses with Companies House, the official register of more than five million limited companies.

A UK registered company can be hugely beneficial to fraudsters but can spell trouble for innocent residents. 

Once set up, criminals can use fake companies for illegal activities. Ms Westmore says: ‘The addresses can be used to allow a business to apply for a loan or credit, to launder the proceeds of a crime, or as a front to trick people into thinking they are being contacted by a legitimate company.

Rhos Road resident Mark Williams

Rhos Road resident Kelly Marmont

Risky Business: Rhos Road residents Kelly Marmont (right)  and Mark Williams (left) are among dozens of neighbours who have become the targets of fraudsters

‘The best-case scenario for residents of this street is that nothing happens and the company is eventually struck off the list, which happens in most cases.

‘The worst-case scenario is a company takes out a loan and can’t pay it off. Then you risk bailiffs turning up.’

Criminals typically use bots to attempt to register new firms at Companies House, but once they find an address or street that works, they’ll keep on using it again and again, Ms Westmore says. ‘It’s not that unusual to have a whole cluster of these companies being set up in one street, or even in one house.’

Residents say the mail flooding into Rhos Road has been a mixture of letters from Companies House confirming a new business, tax codes from HMRC and challenger banks advertising their business accounts.

Lily Smith (not her real name), Kelly’s neighbour, told Money Mail she’s had hundreds of letters through her door in just a couple of months — some 15 of the 48 businesses active on the street are listed at her address.

According to information filed at Companies House, 14 cattle and buffalo-rearing companies — and one raising swine — have set up shop at her home.

Number 28 has both an archbishop and an archivist listed as directors of a firm rearing cattle and buffalo in the back garden. 

Likewise, the owner of number 4 is living at an address where apples, pears and stone fruits are being grown.

Kelly’s house is registered as a manufacturer of basic chemicals and Michelle’s home is also used to rear cattle and other buffalo, according to Companies House.

‘Shouldn’t Companies House have noticed we don’t live on a farm? Rearing buffalo in the back garden? We wouldn’t fit one out there, let alone a whole farm!’ Michelle says.

Fraud farm: According to information filed at Companies House, 14 cattle and buffalo-rearing companies - and one raising swine - have set up shop at her home

Fraud farm: According to information filed at Companies House, 14 cattle and buffalo-rearing companies – and one raising swine – have set up shop at her home

A company at Michelle’s house is also listed as growing grapes, quite a claim considering Swansea’s climate averages just under 14c across the year.

Tony Hetherington, who investigates fraudulent companies in his Mail on Sunday column, says there has been a growing number of these so-called ‘shell companies’ appearing on the Companies House register.

‘It is a rising trend because we have made it so easy for anyone to register a company on Companies House. The numbers started to grow about three years ago,’ he says.

Almost anyone can register a company in as little as 24 hours by paying just £12. 

All you need is three pieces of personal information which can include the town of your birth, mother’s maiden name, father’s first name, telephone number or national insurance number. 

But criminals have been able to easily outsmart the system’s limited verification checks.

Mr Hetherington says until three years ago he had seen many isolated incidents of fraud, but nothing on this scale, where an entire street is involved.

Although Michelle has now reported the three fake business to Action Fraud, she is terrified of what could happen to her finances — and fears bailiffs could leave her and her father out on the street. 

‘I’ve got anxiety and depression, and I suffer with stress. I’ve been trying to get back to my normal self and then all of this happened,’ she says.

But James Jones, head of consumer affairs at credit reporting company Experian, says debt or fraud markers at an address in the name of an unrelated individual will not impact the residents’ credit scores.

He says: ‘Credit checks now take place on the person rather than the address. Even if debt collectors knock on the door chasing an unrelated debt, your own credit score is not at risk.’

If you believe a shell company has been set up at your home you can get your address removed from the firm’s records on Companies House.

Rhos Road resident Mark Williams found it straightforward to remove a company’s link to his home.

The 53-year-old had one fake company listed at his address, claiming to raise cattle and buffalo, just before Christmas. He went onto the Companies House website where he filled out a form and provided a copy of his council tax letter as proof.

Mark then received a letter from Companies House stating if there were no objections within 28 days, the company would be suspended. 

Almost anyone can register a company in as little as 24 hours by paying just £12 and criminals have been able to easily outsmart the system’s limited verification checks

Almost anyone can register a company in as little as 24 hours by paying just £12 and criminals have been able to easily outsmart the system’s limited verification checks

As a financial assistant, Mark found the process easy enough but he knows elderly residents on Rhos Road might struggle.

Mark has lived in what he calls his forever home for the past 25 years — and was shocked to learn how easy it was for someone to list a company there. ‘I expected much more competence from a government department,’ he says.

Companies House — an executive agency of the Department for Business and Trade — has previously been criticised for its lack of powers to check the legitimacy of a company that applies to be listed.

The agency told Money Mail it is aware of the misuse of the register to support illicit activity and it works closely with law enforcement agencies if potential criminal activity is identified.

A spokesman at Companies House says: ‘We are sorry to hear about the difficulties people in Swansea are experiencing. 

We understand the impact this can have and are contacting those affected to help them resolve the issue.’

The department’s powers will be beefed up from March 4 thanks to a new law — the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. The Registrar of Companies currently has limited powers to verify the information delivered to her.

The spokesman says: ‘From next month, we will prioritise cases where people’s names and addresses have been used without their consent. 

The process to report and remove such information will become much quicker and easier. We also plan more checks to determine the accuracy of information before it goes on the register.

‘In the longer term we will require company directors and people who file information to verify their identity to ensure they are who they say they are. These changes will enable us to crack down on misuse of the register.’

The new law is progress for campaigners who have long called for more protection.

Mark Tierney, chief executive of campaign group Stop Scams UK, says: ‘The current system is open to abuse and leaves those affected facing a nightmare process to correct their personal situations. We know that reform is coming but it really cannot come soon enough.’

However, Graham Barrow, financial crime expert at Risk Alert 247, says the new measures will not have the power to stop shell companies being registered.

He says: ‘The changes coming in March are housekeeping measures around addresses. The big changes in verifying the identity of directors and shareholders will only come over a longer period.

‘The ability to pick any old address at random will be reduced but it will not solve the problem. Nothing will stop it.’

Contact Companies House on 0303 1234 500 or email enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk to find out more details about what you need to do to remove the information.

You can also report bogus companies to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk/ reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime.

  • Have you had a company registered at your property without your consent? Email: l.evans@dailymail.co.uk

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