Cifas: Advice for students

With students about to embark on University admissions and with schools re-opening, it is timely to offer some advice about what steps students need to take to prevent themselves becoming embroiled in fraud and money laundering, the consequences of which can have long ranging and devastating impacts on careers.

Many young people have approached us recently to enquire about challenging Cifas markers. The tale they tell is similar – they have lent their bank cards or given their account details to a friend who has then used them for spurious transactions.

Allowing someone else to use your bank card or account details is called Money Muling. It is akin to money laundering. It is also a breach of you bank account conditions and the banks are entitled to close your account without notice if you do this.

However, the ramifications don’t stop there because the banks will report you to an organisation called Cifas. Cifas maintains a data base of individuals banks consider to be a risk of committing fraud or money laundering. In the worse cases these markers can prevent someone from obtaining credit or opening a bank account for six years. The database is shared to all other banks and financial institutions – it does not go on your credit rating, and frequently people are unaware that they have such markers against them. There were 84,000 cases of Misuse of Facility reported to Cifas in 2019, 74% of which related to money mule activity.

These markers can also cause problems when people apply for jobs, particularly in the financial services sector, but also other sectors because employers will want you to have a bank account into which wages can be paid. Some employers will check Cifas records and reject applicants if they find adverse markers.

Landlords ask for credit checks and in some circumstances can refuse to rent out properties to people if they become aware of Cifas markers.

In some circumstances applications for Student Loans may also be refused.

These issues really should be taught as part of citizenship in schools but frequently are not. Once a marker has been issued for allowing accounts to be used as a money mule they are very difficult to challenge. Few banks, other than perhaps some private banks, will accept applications for a bank account in such circumstances.

Contact us, we are here to help

If you would like a Will consultation, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the below details: