Fraud Prevention Service
CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service
CIFAS is a system developed in consultation with the Office of Fair Trading and the Office of the Information Commissioner. It aims to detect and prevent fraud and so protect innocent people whose names, addresses or other details are used fraudulently by others in order to get credit. A CIFAS warning on your file does not mean you are being accused of fraud.
Identity fraud is a growing problem. Your identity is a valuable commodity - you need it to function in everyday life. You need evidence of who you are to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, finance, loans and mortgages, to obtain goods or services, or to claim benefits.
Identity theft is not a victimless crime. In 2004, CIFAS identified and protected 50,000 victims of identity theft, up from 43,000 victims in 2003
If potential fraud is suspected, a warning is placed against the address or addresses linked to the application or account. The warning shows the name used on the application or account but this does not mean the person named is accused of fraud, as fraudsters tend to use a variety of names, some false and some genuine.
The CIFAS warning therefore appears on the file of any person who has a link with the address. Any CIFAS member organisation subsequently checking that address sees the CIFAS warning. The warning does not mean the address has been blacklisted or the individuals living there are involved in the fraud. It means extra precautions should be taken before opening a new account to ensure the application or account that has prompted the check of the address is genuine and this protects the address from further misuse.
If you have any questions about a CIFAS record, write to:
CIFAS, 4th Floor, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0NN