A Warning to Victims of Fraud

Some victims may be accused of fraud by banks and lending institutions and may not even know about it.

This is because where account holders apply for chargebacks against apparently fraudulent transactions, if they are not investigated properly by the banks or other lending institutions, then the account holders themselves could be accused of instituting fraudulent transactions.  This in turn could lead to markers being issued to an organisation called Cifas.

Cifas is a not-for-profit fraud prevention organisation. It is the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, managing the largest database of fraudulent conduct in the country. Its members are organisations from all sectors, such as banking, insurance, credit reference agencies and the like, which share their data to reduce instances of fraud and financial crime.

Since 1988, Cifas has helped its members and customers protect themselves from billions of pounds worth of fraud losses. However, there are instances where the markers used, which are reported by member organisations to Cifas, are not necessarily correct and many individuals find themselves with adverse credit ratings meaning that they are unable to borrow money, and in extreme examples, are prevented from taking on certain jobs.  There have been many incidences where account holders have not known about these markers until it is too late.

There are ways of checking out your credit report. Many people would not necessarily realise they have a problem with their credit reports until they had come to apply for credit.

Sometimes markers can be removed by account holders contacting lenders direct. However, many lenders will deem their reasoning is valid and therefore legal advice is needed to properly challenge the markers, particularly where allegations of fraud or harm are alleged. The criteria the banks and other lenders use for creating markers is sometimes confusing and frequently to a lower standard of proof than the police would work to.

Those affected can appeal to Cifas, but care needs to be taken to get the appeals right.  If the appeal to Cifas fails, then as a last resort appeals can be submitted to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which considers whether the procedures had been put in place correctly. The FOS has the power to award limited levels of compensation.

Should you wish to challenge such markers with Cifas contact Jeremy Asher, Head of Private Prosecutions: