CIFAS - Why is it on my credit file?

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My boyfriend and I recently applied for an "in-principle decision" on a joint mortgage with Lloyds TSB. We were declined so we both obtained copies of our credit file from Equifax. We went to see our FA yesterday(acting on behalf of our estate agent, Slater Hogg) to be told that she has received nothing in writing confirming Lloyds TSB decision and that we were declined due to adverse credit on my file. On checking my file I have discovered that I have a CIFA with a "Fraud Category 4 - Application Fraud(Facility Refused)" on my file for my current address dated 12 August 2004, the day Lloyds undertook their search and according to Lloyds TSB it was Experian who put this CIFA on my file.

I would like to know how credit reference agencies can make decisions that affect your credit file (I thought they just compiled information from lenders) and why a credit search was undertaken on me by Lloyds TSB when a) I didn't consent to it; b) all we wanted was an in-principle decision and c) the FA my boyfriend dealt with only had the information that my boyfriend gave her to go on - she'd only met him that day and had never met me until yesterday.

In the past I have defaulted on 1 loan which I have since settled in full but this is showing on my credit file as not being settled - could this have anything to do with it? When I sold my flat last year I settled in full my mortgage, 2 credit cards, 1 store card and 2 loans. Since moving into my current address I have received credit for an 8,000 car (this was only last month), 2 credit cards and a 9,000 car loan (which I cancelled the agreement on as I eventually didn't need it).

The FA we are dealing with at Slater Hogg seems to now think I will never be able to obtain any credit in the future and understandably I am now extremely worried about this as I don't know why I have this on my file and as it's on my current address and I'm linked to my boyfriend it is showing up on his credit file too and I'm worried it will stop him being able to get future credit and a mortgage (as we've now decided to go ahead with an application just in his name).

Can anyone help - I feel as though I must've done something really bad that I'm not aware of!! Sorry this is so long-winded it's just until yesterday I'd never heard of CIFA. Thank you.

-- Claire McBride (c.mcbride@gardiner.com), August 17, 2004

Answers

See the excellent info on the Home Repo page about CIFAS.

Also have a look at Zena Johnson's web site; www.zcredit.co.uk which discusses the effects of a CIFAS warning on her Dad five years ago.

The big issue is that CIFAS and the way it operates is all under the covers. The CIFAS operational procedures "The CIFAS Rules" are secret, when you are blacklisted with a CIFAS category 4 warning then nobody tells you, you have to find out by requesting a copy of your credit file.

All the banks are members of CIFAS; all the insurance companies are members of CIFAS, and CIFAS database access is provided to councils, the DSS, the benefits office, anybody and everybody really. The councils, DSS, benefits office all enjoy CIFAS database access without even registration of a "footprint" under the social security act.

But the major downside is that once you have been registered as a CIFAS fraudster, and that is what a category four is stating, then all the banks consider you to be a criminal. Therefore, whatever they want to do to you is ok. And this will go on for years. Zena's Dad got his CIFAS registration retracted in 2000 as being "Issued in error". Some chance, he was denied a bank account six months later with a warning to the bank employee to "Check CIFAS", and just last week an investigator issued 17 unauthorised credit checks against him and his friends at Experian. Really, once you have been registered as a CIFAS fraudster, then its open season on you.

You might like to see the CIFAS category four criteria on Zena's web site; http://www.zcredit.co.uk/an06.pdf

My advice, contact the Information Commissioners Office immediately and issue an assessment under the DPA concerning this CIFAS warning against you. If you have not matched the criteria for a CIFAS category four warning, then they have slandered you big time, so see a solicitor and sue them for defamation. While you are at it, sue CIFAS as well.

Having spoken to Zena's dad recently, once you have been registered as a CIFAS fraudster, change your name, move, and emigrate. Your life as you knew it is over now.

Sorry if this does not cheer you up, but I thought it better to lay it on the line.

Good Luck

I Hate Abbey National.

-- anon (anon@hotmail.com), August 17, 2004.


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