Bogus companies were registered to 16 addresses in one Worksop street
Sixteen addresses on the same road in Worksop were among scores used across the country to register new companies over one weekend.
All of them were set up in the name of a 23-year-old Chinese man called Rong Yang.
People in the street in Worksop discovered the fraud when letters from the government's Cardiff-based Companies House arrived at their homes which congratulated Rong Yang on setting up firms, including private security companies, trailer parks and demolition contractors, at their addresses.
John, 70, who has lived in his housing association flat for 16 years, told the BBC: "I'm amazed and very shocked this could happen to an ordinary person going about their day-to-day life.
"Why choose me? "The law needs to be changed to protect people."
His neighbour Janet told the BBC she had spent hours on the phone to Companies House trying to explain what had happened.
She said: "I got these two letters [to Rong Yang]. What the hell is this about? It's mind-boggling.”
Coun Jo White, deputy leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “BBC’s You and Yours programme visited some of the residents on the Worksop street as the letters from Companies House dropped onto their doormats.
“They were all horrified to discover what was being done behind their backs, with some having more than one company registered to their address.
“It will take a lawyer and a court order at a cost of £300 to £400 to get each of these companies removed.
“No one on that street has funds like this and why should they have to be responsible for these costs?”
Minister in the Department for Business and Trade Kevin Hollinrake told BBC's Radio 4's You and Yours programme: "It's terrible for the people involved - those people in Worksop - and I would like to apologise to them.
"It's absolutely right we make the UK an easy place to do business and grow business at low cost.
"We don't want to change that but we do want to change that for people who are criminals or kleptocrats or terrorists.
"We know they abuse our open economy."