If you’ve ever applied for credit, you may have come across the term “CIFAS markers.” In recent years, they’ve been mentioned in the media, with some companies and individuals having trouble obtaining credit because of a CIFAS marker on their file.

This article goes through CIFAS markers in-depth, 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 membership organization. It provides a fraud prevention service and maintains the UK’s largest database of fraudulent behaviour instances.

The CIFAS includes members from a variety of industries, to combat fraud and crime. The majority of financial institutions are members of the CIFAS, and they share significant quantities of information about firms and individuals.

CIFAS is a computerized trademark used by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to identify patterns of behaviour that indicate potential fraud. The Financial Services Authority developed CIFAS to help banks and other financial institutions avoid dealing with potentially fraudulent customers. ‘First-party fraud’ and ‘Application Fraud’ are two of the most common markers

A CIFAS marker on your credit report indicates that any application submitted from this address may be subjected to further verification. When you apply for shop finance, for example, this may cause serious difficulties. because

How do I know if I have a CIFAS marker?

If you are a victim of fraud, you will find the marker on your credit report. This is known as a Victim of Impersonation entry. This is filed by a lender for your protection.

Your credit report is compiled by one of three credit agencies, all of whom have a statutory duty to provide you with a copy of

A Victim of Impersonation marker will remain on your report for 13 months from the date of entry.

The third kind of marker that may appear is called Protected Registration. This is a premium service that people 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 the other CIFAS marker categories is to submit a Data Subject Access Request to CIFAS. This is because the institution that registered the mark against your record has no legal duty 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 variety of credit report indicators that may show up.

1. Protective Registration: This will appear on your CIFAS file for two years from the date you purchased the service. It’s a consumer request on the CIFAS database.

2. Victim of Impersonation: If you have been a victim of identity fraud, your file will be marked for 13 months.

3. First Party Fraud: Normally, this is what someone who “skips” a court date would be charged with: an arrest for failure to appear. However, the charge will increase if you have bail bond insurance and skip a court hearing. If your case was dismissed by the judge because of your absence, you may face additional charges.

4. Facility Takeover: The most common method is to use a stolen bank account number or form of identification from another person who has been defrauded. This is when an individual’s current facility, such as a bank account, is taken over by a fraudster and then used for unauthorized transactions, or the information is altered.

5. Misuse of Facility: In the United States, using someone else’s identity to obtain an account or other service is a crime. This is known as identity theft and it occurs when you deliberately acquire an account or service to misuse it. This can stay on your record for up to six years.

6. Asset Conversion: This is where someone sells non-owned goods under a hire purchase, conditional sale, contract hire, or leasing agreement. This is most often the case with automobiles. This may stay on your record for up to six years.

7. Application Fraud: It’s a problem that isn’t going away.

Applications submitted in the individual’s name yet fraudulent information, such as pay, address, or employment is supplied, are known as identity theft applications. It might also include forged documents.This can stay on your file for up to six years.

8. Insurance Claims Fraud: Certain information is sent, for example when a client files an insurance claim to obtain money. This may be kept on your record for up to six years.

What do CIFAS markers affect?

Any CIFAS markers on your file may influence your application for credit or the approval of a new financial arrangement.

Mortgage applications are one of the most frequent uses for it.

Mortgages are certainly one of the most important financial arrangements we will ever take part in. When we apply for a mortgage, lenders are naturally interested in our credit and financial histories.

Although CIFAS markers on your account do not automatically lead to a rejection, they may slow the procedure down.

Car insurance applications

CIFAS markers do not prevent you from obtaining automobile insurance, but it may mean that payment options are limited. You may be refused credit and required to pay for your insurance upfront instead. It’s also possible that your premium will be greater.

Other forms of lending

Any loan agreement you sign up for may reveal CIFAS markers. A CIFAS marker will affect any application for business financing, a personal loan, an overdraft, or a mobile phone contract.

While they won’t result in your application being instantly rejected, they might cause problems.

Will a CIFAS marker affect my student loan application?

Unlike other forms of credit, student loan eligibility is not determined by your credit history. However, if your bank account has been frozen because of a CIFAS identifier, you will be unable to pay back a student loan.

Does a CIFAS marker show on a criminal record or through a Disclosure & Barring Service check?

Although the CIFAS markers are used in the same manner as fingerprints, they do not appear on criminal records. If you have been convicted of any financial misconduct related to CIFAS markers, it will most likely show on your criminal record.

Can employers become aware of CIFAS markers?

Employers may check CIFAS if they wish. Checks are generally limited to specific sectors, such as finance and law in practice. They will then utilize all information obtained to assist them with whom to employ.

Can CIFAS markers be removed?

The good news is that CIFAS markers are susceptible to being challenged. The following sections describe how each stage of the process works. In certain cases, it’s possible to remove CIFAS tags from the database.

Step 1: Request a CIFAS letter

Make a direct subject access request (DSAR) to CIFAS, asking for a letter describing the markers they have on their database. This can often be a little bit of information, and the institution that gave it is not required to provide evidence that it was accurate.

Step 2: Contact the institution that issued the marker and request removal

If you’ve received a CIFAS letter, you may now contact the institution that issued your marker to obtain more information before requesting that the badge be withdrawn.

Step 3: Request CIFAS review

If the institution refuses your request to remove the marker, you have 14 days after that 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 may file a complaint with the appropriate ombudsman for the institution that placed the marker there. If it were a bank, for example, you would need to contact the Financial Ombudsman.

The relevant ombudsman would be the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) if it was a mobile phone company.

Other Fraud Databases: SIRA and National Hunter

These databases are composed of data compiled from applications submitted to organizations that are members of SIRA and National Hunter. The following fields of information are included: name, date of birth, address, phone number(s) (home and mobile), and email address supplied on an application

The members of the SIRA are only required to supply minimal information, but they are also asked to make an assessment: “clear” or “refer.” When a member records “clear,” it indicates that he or she has found nothing wrong with the application. However, when a member writes “refer,” this implies the member believes there is

Clear assessments are retained on SIRA for six years and ‘refer’ judgments are kept for six years. National Hunter works similarly, although its members may also utilize the words “inconsistency” and “suspicious” when assessing an applicant’s information.

The same approach to CIFAS marker removal can be taken to challenging entries on these two databases.

Richardson Lissack’s experience with CIFAS marker removal At Richardson Lissack, we have vast expertise in helping folks remove CIFAS flags.

We would always suggest consulting a specialist because challenging the decision of institutions, particularly those in finance, can be a time-consuming and laborious process. We utilize our extensive understanding of data protection law 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

The team also have first-hand knowledge of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial sector regulator, through their work with CIFAS markers and removals.