The term “CIFAS markers” refers to a variety of rules and standards set forth by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that banks must adhere to before providing consumer credit. They’ve been in the news lately, with some businesses and individuals being unable to obtain credit because of a CIFAS marker on their file.
This post explains CIFAS markers in detail, including what they are, how long they last, and how to get rid of them.
What are CIFAS markers?
The Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System is the formal name for CIFAS, a non-profit fraud prevention organization. It provides a fraud prevention service and maintains the UK’s largest database of fraudulent behavior cases.
To combat fraud and criminal activity, the CIFAS includes members from a variety of sectors. The majority of financial institutions are members of the CIFAS, and they provide a wealth of information on businesses and people.
The Financial Services Authority, better known as the FCA, uses CIFAS as a computerized trademark to identify patterns of activity that suggest fraud potential. The Financial Services Authority created CIFAS to assist banks and other financial companies in avoiding contact with potentially fraudulent clients.
A CIFAS marker on your credit report indicates that any application submitted from this address may be subjected to additional verification. When you apply for shop finance, for example, this might cause significant problems.
How do I know if I have a CIFAS marker?
The marker is included on your credit report if you are a victim of fraud. This is referred to as a Victim of Impersonation entry because it is submitted by a lender in order to protect you.
For a period of 13 months, you will be marked as a Victim of Impersonation on your credit report.
The third form of indicator that may be observed is known as Protected Registration. This is a premium service that individuals can purchase through CIFAS or another provider if they believe they have been a victim of identity fraud.
The only way to find out about CIFAS’ additional marker categories is to submit a Data Subject Access Request to CIFAS. This is due to the fact that the institution that registered the mark on your account has no legal obligation to inform you or to explain why they have done so.
CIFAS markers: the categories and length of time on your file
There are a number of credit report indicators that may appear.
- CIFAS Protection Registration: The registration will stay on your CIFAS file for two years after you purchased the service. It’s a consumer request on the CIFAS database.
- Victim of Impersonation: If you have been a victim of identity fraud, your file will be labeled as such for 13 months.
- First Party Fraud: Normally, a failure to appear charge is what someone who “skips” a court date would be subjected to. However, if you have bail bond insurance and miss a court hearing, the charge will increase. You may face additional charges if your case was dismissed by the judge owing to your absence.
- Facility Takeover: The most popular approach is to utilize the account number or form of identification from someone else who has been defrauded. When a person’s current service, such as a bank account, is taken over by a fraudster and used for unlawful activities, or the information is changed, this is referred to as identity theft.
- Misuse of Facility: In the United States, obtaining an account or other service using someone else’s identity is a crime. Identity theft occurs when you intentionally obtain a service or account to misappropriate it. This may be shown on your record for up to six years.
- Asset Conversion: This is when someone sells non-owned goods under a hire purchase, conditional sale, contract hire, or leasing contract. The majority of the time with automobiles. This may be recorded on your record for up to six years.
- Application Fraud: It isn’t going away anytime soon.
Identity theft applications are fraudulent paperwork submitted in the individual’s name with accurate information, such as pay, address, or employment, but phony facts like as cash. It might also include phony papers. This can stay on your record for up to six years.
- Insurance Claims Fraud: There are many situations where it’s not possible to store all information received. For example, when a customer files an insurance claim in order to receive funds. This may be kept on your record for up to six years.
What do CIFAS markers affect?
CIFAS markers on your file may jeopardize the approval of a new financial arrangement or your application for credit.
Customers also use it to buy goods on-line and pay bills, including mortgages.
Mortgages are without a doubt one of the most crucial financial commitments we will ever make. Lenders are naturally interested in our credit and financial histories when we apply for a mortgage.
Although CIFAS flags on your account do not always result in a rejection, they may cause the procedure to take longer.
Car insurance applications
The warnings on your credit report from CIFAS will not prevent you from buying automobile insurance, but it may make payment alternatives limited. You may be refused credit and required to pay your insurance upfront instead. It’s also conceivable that your premium will be higher.
Other forms of lending
CIFAS markers may appear on any loan agreement you join. Any business financing, personal loan, overdraft, or mobile phone contract application will be affected by a CIFAS marker.
Minor mistakes, such as incorrect punctuation or misspelled keywords, might lead to confusion in the case of a visa application. While they won’t result in your application being immediately rejected, they may cause difficulties.
Will a CIFAS marker affect my student loan application?
Unlike other forms of credit, student loan eligibility is not determined by your credit history. If your bank account has been frozen due to a CIFAS identifier, you will be unable to repay a student loan.
Does a CIFAS marker show on a criminal record or through a Disclosure & Barring Service check?
Although CIFAS identifiers are used in the same manner as fingerprints, they are not recorded on criminal records. If you have been convicted of financial misdeeds related to CIFAS markers, it is likely that your criminal record will reflect this.
Can employers become aware of CIFAS markers?
CIFAS does not monitor employers; however, they can utilize CIFAS if they wish. Checks are generally limited to specific industries, such as finance and law in practice. They will then make use of all data acquired to assist them in selecting who to hire.
Can CIFAS markers be removed?
The good news is that CIFAS markers are vulnerable to being challenged. The following sections describe how each step of the procedure works. It is possible in certain circumstances to get rid of CIFAS tags from the database.
Step 1: Request a CIFAS letter
Make a subject access request (DSAR) to CIFAS for a letter stating the markers they have on their database, making your position clear. This might be some information, and the organization that provided it is not obligated to provide proof that it was correct.
Step 2: Contact the institution that issued the marker and request removal
If you have received a CIFAS notification, you may now contact the institution that issued your marker for further information before requesting the badge be revoked.
Step 3: Request CIFAS review
You have 14 days after the institution denies your request to appeal directly to CIFAS.
Step 4: Complain to the relevant ombudsman or complaint service
If CIFAS upholds the institution’s decision and refuses to remove the marker, you can appeal to an ombudsman at the institution that placed the marker there. You’d need to contact the Financial Ombudsman if it were a bank.
If it was a mobile phone provider, the competent ombudsman would be the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS).
Other Fraud Databases: SIRA and National Hunter
Name, date of birth, address, phone number(s), and email address are all included in these databases. These databases are compiled from data submitted by applicants to organizations that are members of SIRA and National Hunter.
The data that humans input into the system are kept for six years and are referred judgments are retained for six years. National Hunter, on the other hand, works in a similar manner: applicants’ information may be assessed as inconsistent or suspicious by referring to these words.
The same approach to removing CIFAS markers from these two databases may also be used.
At Richardson Lissack, we have a lot of experience assisting people in removing CIFAS flags.
We would always advocate consulting a specialist because challenging the decision of businesses, especially financial institutions, is a time-consuming and laborious process. To ensure that not only does the institution respond to a SAR in a GDPR compliant way but also to question, investigate, and challenge the underlying reasons, we apply our substantial understanding of data protection law.
The team has first-hand experience with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial sector regulator, through their work with CIFAS markers and removals.