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|Headquarters||London WC1, United Kingdom|
|Products||National Fraud Database; Internal Fraud Database|
Number of employees
Cifas is a fraud prevention service in the United Kingdom. It is a not-for-profit membership association representing organisations from across the public, private and voluntary sectors. In 2016, Cifas had over 360 member organisations. Cifas states its mission is ‘to detect, deter and prevent fraud in society by harnessing technology and working in partnership’.
Cifas operates two core fraud prevention databases that are the largest in the UK: the National Fraud Database and the Internal Fraud Database. Its systems are also used by banks and building societies to access Home Office immigration data through a specialist portal.
Data from Cifas' members revealed that instances of identity fraud in the UK had reached record levels in 2016, particularly among people aged under 30. That trend continued through 2017, with Cifas reporting more than 89,000 cases of identity fraud in the first six months of the year.
Cifas data from 2016 and 2017 also highlighted the growing issue of 'money mules' – people who allow their bank accounts to be used to launder money. Cifas reported that the number of young people (18-24-year-olds) allowing their accounts to be used to transfer the proceeds of crime had risen by an unprecedented 75 per cent in the last year.
Cifas was established in 1988 by the Consumer Credit Trade Association (CCTA) under the acronym CIFAS: Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, although the company no longer operates under this acronym as the remit has broadened. It was developed in association with the Office of Fair Trading, as well as the Information Commissioner's Office, who continue to this day to take an active interest in the development of Cifas.
Cifas is today run by a board of directors, that includes both independent directors and the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive. From 1988 to 2016 the majority of the directors were elected by participating organisations. They now participate in the governance of the organisation through an Advisory Board.
Cifas' National Fraud Database allows participating organisations to exchange confirmed details of applications for products or services which are considered to be fraudulent; exchange confirmed information about accounts and services which are being fraudulently misused; and confirmed information about insurance and other claims that are considered to be fraudulent.
Organisations can also exchange information about innocent victims of fraud to protect them from further fraud.
The Internal Fraud Database allows participating organisations to exchange details of confirmed cases where an applicant or member of staff has acted fraudulently.
Under the Data Protection Act, an individual has the right to make a Subject Access Request to Cifas, who will disclose any data held on the individual for a statutory fee. Cifas is not a Credit Reference Agency.
Immigration Act 2014
In 2014, the Immigration Act became law. Cifas was named as the sole provider of Home Office Immigration Data and launched the Cifas Immigration Portal (CIP) in December 2014. All current account-providing banks and building societies in the UK are required to use the CIP to access the Home Office data on disqualified persons.
Victims of identity fraud or people who are at risk of identity fraud can apply for Cifas Protective Registration for a fee. Protective Registration acts as a warning the organisation should carry out additional checks to verify the identity of the applicant or customer.
Collaborations and partnerships
Cifas works with fraud prevention, financial, public sector, academic and charitable organisations and law enforcement to raise awareness of fraud and promote best practice in fraud prevention. Collaborative partners include the City of London Police, CIPFA, the Home Office, Age UK and Financial Fraud Action UK. Cifas is a member of the Joint Fraud Taskforce, which was set up by former Home Secretary Theresa May in 2015.
- "Cifas - About Us". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "CIFAS named for bank account controls role - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Identity fraud reached record levels in 2016". BBC News. 2017-03-15. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Identity fraud reaches record level with almost 500 cases a day - Cifas". Sky News. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
- "Soaring numbers of young people used as 'money mules' by criminals". The Independent. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
- "Cifas - National Fraud Database". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Cifas - Internal Fraud Database". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Cifas - Immigration Act 2014". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Guidance on current accounts provisions - banks and building societies" (PDF). www.gov.uk. UK Government.
- "Cifas - For Individuals". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Cifas - Protecting the Vulnerable". www.cifas.org.uk. Cifas. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Joint Fraud Taskforce Management Board - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- "Home Secretary launches new joint fraud taskforce - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 2017-03-15.