What is CIFAS?

What are CIFAS Markers?Cifas Fraud Prevention Service is a vital and trusted entity in the fight against fraud in the United Kingdom.

As a not-for-profit organization, Cifas collaborates with an extensive network of member organizations, including banks, insurers, retailers, and government agencies, to combat various forms of financial crime.

Established in 1988, Cifas operates as a centralized hub for collecting, sharing, and analyzing fraud data, enabling its members to detect and prevent fraudulent activities effectively.

The service utilizes sophisticated technology and data analytics to identify patterns and trends associated with fraud, providing valuable insights that help its members enhance their fraud detection and prevention strategies.

By fostering collaboration and information exchange, Cifas plays a pivotal role in safeguarding businesses and consumers alike, contributing significantly to the ongoing battle against fraud and maintaining the integrity of the UK’s financial landscape

What are CIFAS Markers?

A CIFAS marker, also known as a CIFAS fraud marker, is a warning or flag that is placed on an individual’s credit file by the UK-based fraud prevention service, CIFAS. This marker indicates that the person has been involved in, or there has been a suspicion of, fraudulent activity related to credit or financial transactions.

It is essentially an anti-fraud measure meant to protect both businesses and individuals from being victims of financial fraud. The presence of a CIFAS marker can significantly affect a person’s ability to gain credit or open new bank accounts as it may cause financial institutions to conduct further investigations before approving any applications.

Typically, CIFAS markers remain on a credit file for six years, unless the individual can prove that the marker was applied erroneously.

Surprisingly, unless someone has been a fraud victim, these markers are not shown on credit reports generated by agencies like Experian, leaving many customers unaware of their marked credit history.

CIFAS markers can cause issues when applying for credit, such as mortgages, car finance, or insurance products, and when seeking overdrafts or new banking facilities. Financial institutions may decide to close accounts, even if they are unrelated, due to concerns raised by reported activities.

These markers can have a far-reaching impact, affecting entire businesses and individuals. Directors with markers have experienced refusals for loans, like Bounce Back Loans, and faced account closures. Employees in the financial service sector may face career setbacks, as organizations often check staff credit profiles and terminate individuals with markers.

Even applicants can be affected, with markers potentially preventing them from being offered positions. CIFAS markers can also impact student loan applications, as the Student Loan Company Ltd is a CIFAS member, and students without bank accounts may face difficulties receiving their funds.

To check for markers, individuals can make a Data Subject Access Request to CIFAS. The report received will outline the nature of the markers and the organizations responsible for loading them.

Different Types of Cifas Markers

These are the follow types of markets from CIFAS:

  • Consumer-Initiated Protective Registration: this is a service paid for by the user, typically when they’ve been victimised by fraud, and it remains in effect for a two-year period
  • Impersonation Victim: this pertains to individuals who’ve been victims of identity theft, and is valid for a span of 13 months
  • Deliberate Default: wherein there is no genuine intention to fulfil the agreed future repayment in return for goods or services, and can extend up to a duration of six years
  • Account Takeover: when a fraudster hijacks a bank account for unauthorized transactions or alters the details, and it can stay valid for a maximum of six years
  • Facility Misuse: when a facility or an account is procured with the intention to utilize it for fraudulent activities, and can persist for up to six years.
  • Unlawful Asset Sale: where a person sells items they do not possess, usually under a hire purchase, conditional sale, contract hire, lease or rental agreement, frequently concerning motor vehicles, and it can extend for up to six years.
  • Fraudulent Applications: when an application is submitted in the customer’s name, but it contains false information like incorrect salary, address, employment details or doctored documents, and can last for up to six years.
  • Fraudulent Insurance Claims: like when false details are given on an insurance claim, and can be valid for up to six years.

How do you get a CIFAS Marker?

A CIFAS marker is typically added to an individual’s credit file if a CIFAS member, often a bank or other financial institution, detects or suspects fraudulent activity.

This might be related to identity theft, such as when an individual falsely represents themselves in order to gain a financial advantage, or it could be due to an individual’s own misconduct, such as applying for credit under false pretenses or making dishonest claims.

For instance, if you apply for a loan using false employment details or other deceptive information, the lending institution may report this to CIFAS, who would then place a marker on your credit file.

Note that before a CIFAS marker is placed, the organization considering the action will carry out a thorough investigation to validate the suspicion of fraud.

Once applied, the marker can make it more difficult to obtain credit or financial products, as it alerts potential lenders to the risk of fraud.

How to Remove a CIFAS Marker?

A CIFAS marker is usually removed automatically after six years. However, if the marker was added in error or you believe that it was unjust, you have the right to challenge its placement.

The first step to challenge a CIFAS marker is contacting the organization that registered the marker. You can find the name of the organization on your CIFAS warning letter or through your credit report. The organization is obligated to review your case and should respond to your query.

If they agree that the marker was made in error, they will remove it. If they maintain that the marker was justified, and you disagree with their decision, you can escalate your complaint to an independent adjudicator, such as the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the UK.

To clarify the process, here are the steps to follow if you want to remove a CIFAS marker:

  • Review your credit report: Identify the CIFAS marker and the organization that applied it. Your credit report will contain this information.
  • Contact the organization: Write to the organization that applied the marker, detailing why you believe the CIFAS marker is unjust. Keep your communication clear, concise, and factual.
  • Await their decision: The organization will review your case and make a decision. This process may take some time, so it’s important to be patient.
  • Appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS): If the organization maintains that the marker was justified and you disagree with their decision, you can escalate your complaint to the FOS. Provide all the necessary evidence and information related to your case for the review.
  • Follow FOS decision: If the FOS rules in your favor, they will instruct the organization to remove the CIFAS marker from your record. However, if they side with the organization, the marker will remain in place until it automatically expires after six years.

What do CIFAS Markers Affect?

CIFAS markers will be communicated to other finance-related establishments, which means it’s likely to influence applications you submit to any credit provider, be it a bank, lending institution, insurance firm, or mortgage broker.

Here are a few examples of how a CIFAS marker can affect you:

  • One of the most frequent consequences is facing difficulties getting credit applications approved, like a mortgage, auto insurance, an overdraft, or a mobile phone contract.
  • Banks may reject your application for a new account.
  • Securing a student loan might also become challenging as a bank account is required; the student loans company is a CIFAS member.
  • Financial establishments that become cognizant of your marker might close your account.
  • If you work within the finance industry, a marker against your name could lead to job loss.

Does a CIFAS Marker show on a Criminal Record?

No, CIFAS markers merely indicate financial misbehavior and are not documented on any criminal record. They would only likely appear on a criminal record if you were being prosecuted for fraudulent activity.

Can Employers become aware of a CIFAS Marker?

Yes, employers can potentially become aware of a CIFAS marker, particularly if they are a member of CIFAS and conduct pre-employment screening checks. CIFAS is a UK fraud prevention agency and its members include banks, credit card companies, loan companies, and even some public authorities.

Some employers, particularly in the financial sector, might request data from CIFAS as part of their background checks on potential employees. If an individual has a CIFAS marker against their name, it could influence their employability, especially in positions of financial responsibility or trust.

However, it’s essential to note that not all employers have access to this information, and it depends heavily on the industry and the nature of the role in question.

Other fraud databases

In the UK, there are two other databases that provide comparable but more restricted data on individuals.

To begin with, National SIRA is widely recognized by financial institutions as the primary association for detecting and preventing fraud. By placing markers on your data, National SIRA can either ‘clear’ it or ‘refer’ it for further investigation, depending on the circumstances.

Similarly, National Hunter also employs ‘clear’ and ‘refer’ markers, alongside additional markers like ‘inconsistency’ and ‘suspicious,’ which indicate information provided by various organizations.

Should you wish to remove National SIRA and National Hunter markers, the process is identical to removing CIFAS markers – you can challenge them directly. This allows for a fair and transparent resolution if you believe the markers were placed erroneously.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if you get a CIFAS?

If you get a Cifas marker it can prevent you from securing any kind of credit or opening a bank account.

How do I get a CIFAS removed?

To get a Cifas marker removed you need to request the lender that placed it there to remove it, if they will not you need to apply to their Ombudsman.

What triggers a CIFAS marker?

The triggers of a Cifas marker are if an organisation, such as a loan or insurance company, suspects that you have engaged in fraudulent activity.


In conclusion, CIFAS plays a crucial role in fraud prevention in the UK, helping to safeguard businesses and individuals alike. However, the implications of having a CIFAS marker can be far-reaching. For businesses, it can help protect against potential fraudulent activity, but for individuals, it can pose significant challenges.

These can range from difficulties in securing credit or insurance packages to potential issues in employment, especially within the financial sector.

Being aware of the potential impact of a CIFAS marker, and understanding the rights and responsibilities associated with it, is vital in managing its effects.

Regardless of the situation, proper guidance and legal advice are essential when dealing with these markers to ensure fair and just treatment.

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.