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CIFAS Markers: Data subject access request (DSAR)

What is a Cifas marker?

CIFAS stands for ‘Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System‘, a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation.

It operates as a fraud prevention service, and manages the largest database of fraudulent conduct instances in the UK.

Membership of the organisation encompasses a wide range of sectors, with members sharing their data with the aim of reducing fraud and crime.

Most financial institutions are members of the CIFAS, and through it they share large amounts of data about companies and individuals.

CIFAS markers are adverse judgements through which one institution, be it a bank, loan company or an insurer, for example, can warn another about risks associated with a potential customer.

The most common markers that are placed on an individual’s file are for ‘First Party Fraud’ and ‘Application Fraud’.

Having a CIFAS marker means that any application for credit, or other financial services from the address, may be subject to further checks.

It can present particular problems when you apply for credit, which is checked automatically, such as store finance. As the entry would need to be manually checked, an automated system is likely to reject your application.

A Cifas Marker, or Cifas Entry, is made on the CIFAS National Fraud Database as a potential fraud warning.

It’s visible to prospective lenders, and makes them aware you may be vulnerable to fraudulent attempts to take out credit in your name.

They act as adverse judgements through which one institution that offers financial services, such as a bank, insurer, or loan company, can warn another about potential risks associated with a customer.

The two most common markers that are placed on an individual’s file are for ‘First Party Fraud’ and ‘Application Fraud.’

Having a Cifas marker on your credit report is likely to mean any application for financial services or credit may be subject to further checks, if not outright refusal.

What is Cifas?

Cifas stands for ‘Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System,’ a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation. It operates as a fraud prevention service, and manages the largest database of fraudulent conduct instances in the UK.

Membership of the organisation encompasses a wide range of sectors, with members sharing their data with the aim of reducing fraud and crime.

Most financial institutions are members of the CIFAS, and through it they share large amounts of data about companies and individuals.

How will you know if you have a Cifas marker?

If you have been a victim of fraud, you will find this recorded on your credit report.

This type of Cifas marker is known as a Victim of Impersonation entry, and is usually filed by a lender for your own protection, often as a result of identity fraud.

This is the least serious form of Cifas marker from the point of view of potential lenders.

It will usually remain visible on your report for 13 months.

Another marker type is protective registration.

This is a purchased service that individuals can request when they believe they have been the victim of identity fraud. It appears for two years from the date you purchased the service.

The remaining six categories of Cifas markers will not appear on your credit report and  can only be revealed by making a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR).

What is a Cifas marker Data Subject Access Request?

A Data Subject Access Request is an application made directly to Cifas via an online application form.

By doing so, an applicant can find out the details of the marker(s) held on its database.

This is often a relatively small amount of information, and the institution that supplied it is not required to provide the evidence this was based on.

The range of markers that might appear on your credit report are:

  • First-party fraud
  • Facility takeover
  • Misuse of facility
  • Asset conversion
  • Application fraud
  • Insurance claims fraud

Removing a marker

Once you have been supplied with a letter detailing the nature of the Cifas marker(s), you can contact the particular institution(s) that added it to your account and request an explanation for the reasons why using a  Data Subject Access Request (DSAR).

You can then ask for the marker to be removed.

It’s possible the institution will refuse.

If it is unwilling to engage with you request and its decision is final, it will issue a final response letter.

When you are in receipt of a final response letter, you can then request a review directly from Cifas, which is required to adjudicate within 14 days.

If Cifas upholds the institution’s decision, it’s possible to appeal with the relevant industry ombudsman for the particular institution responsible for your marker.

If an appeal to the ombudsman is also rejected, then in certain limited circumstances it might be possible to challenge the decision through judicial review or an injunction.

Is it worthwhile making a Cifas data subject access request?

If you are having problems accessing credit, or entering into contracts for goods and services, it may be appropriate to make a Cifas data subject access request.

This could give you the information you need to rectify any issue you are having with accessing credit.

If you are attempting to enter into a large financial agreement, such as a mortgage, and you suspect you have a Cifas marker, you should access your report prior to making an application.

Should an application for a mortgage, or other substantial loan, be turned down it will be entered onto your credit report.

This can have a detrimental effect on your ability to access alternative credit sources.

If you are having repeated problems gaining credit, then you should try to obtain as full a picture of your credit report as possible before making any more applications.

This could include making a Cifas data subject access request.

The experienced team at Richardson Lissack can provide advice and guidance about Cifas markers and how you might remove them from your credit report.

Our lawyers are available to assist you and provide legal advice in CIFAS Marker matters.

Contact London 020 3753 5352 or Manchester 0161 834 7284. For out of hours enquires please contact Tim Thomas on 07593 559 393.

Alternatively you can also email info@richardsonlissack.co.uk

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