CIFAS fraud markers and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

With another lock-down upon us businesses are once again requiring financial support. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but previously borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount, but you must request the top-up by 31 January 2021.

As many businesses have discovered to their cost, a fraud marker registered against a director can have disastrous consequences.

Experience shows us that it is vitally important that businesses treat such markers as a material risk to it because lending can be refused and accounts closed. If challenges to banks are rejected, appeals can be made to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which is currently ruling on cases from April 2020 – such delays are unlikely to be weathered by many businesses during these difficult times. Therefore, getting challenges wrong carries enormous risk so it is important to get the challenge right first time.

CIFAS maintains a database of individuals banks consider to be a risk of committing fraud or money laundering. In the worst cases these markers can prevent someone from obtaining credit or opening a bank account for six years. The database is shared with 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. Where businesses apply for finance, the banks check the company directors’ credit records, including the CIFAS, National Hunter and SIRA fraud prevention databases.

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If you need advice or support with anything related to these issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.