How Protective Registration Can Help You

Posted by George Coburn in Identity Theft on 8 January 2020 - George is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

One harsh truth about fraud is that, if you have fallen victim to one of the many fraud rings operating in the UK, it is possible that you’ll be targeted again.

Fraudsters will often sell the details of potential victims to each other, so even if one fraud ring has moved onto someone else, there’s the possibility that another may still try its luck with you. For this reason, it is often appropriate to put certain measures in place to protect you from future fraudulent attempts to open credit in your name.

What is Protective Registration?

Protective Registration is a fraud protection service offered by Cifas that aims to protect your identity by ensuring that any credit applications made using your details undergo extra security checks.

By registering with Cifas, you can have ‘Protective Registration’ placed on your Credit Report for two years at a cost of £25. This will inform lenders, mobile phone suppliers, and any organisation that checks your Credit Report that you’ve been a victim of fraud – and that the application shouldn’t be processed automatically.

Whenever your Credit Report is accessed during an application, the organisation you’ve applied with will be required to look at the application in more detail and ascertain whether it is suspicious or genuine. You would then be contacted if it needs to verify your details.

Is there a downside to Protective Registration?

It’s important to note that having a fraud prevention marker on your Credit Report will not harm your creditworthiness. It exists solely to protect your information. Once a potential lender, for instance, has completed the required security checks and is confident that your application is genuine, it will be processed as normal.

One of the only drawbacks of having this placed on your Credit Report is that whenever you apply for credit, your application will likely be delayed. Regular automated credit checking processes often aren’t employed when a Fraud Alert is found, which – considering it’s designed to protect you – is usually for the best.

By manually reviewing the application, the organisation can ensure a greater level of certainty that the application is genuine before approving a new product or line of credit. Although the Fraud Alert won’t impact your creditworthiness, the delays mean it may be worth considering how ‘at risk’ you are of future fraud before having Cifas Protective Registration placed on your Credit Report.

How common is identity fraud?

In the year ending March 2016, the Office of National Statistics estimated a total of 3.8m fraud offences were committed in the UK and the percentage of fraud that is classed as identity theft is massively increasing each year. In a typical case of identity fraud, a fraudster will take on the identity of someone else and then apply for credit in the victim’s name or purchase high value goods which can then be sold on.

According to Cifas, identity fraud rose in 2018 by 8%, mostly with those aged under 21 and those over 60.

How do I spot identity fraud?

It is common practice for banks and lending institutions to write to new customers welcoming them to the company. This is often backed up by text message and email. For someone who hasn’t made an application, receiving this correspondence is usually when it first becomes clear that they’re victim of fraud.

If you receive an unexpected letter mentioning a new credit card, loan, or product you didn’t ask for, it’s vital that you immediately contact the company that sent the letter. Finding the company’s contact details from its official website will ensure you talk to the right people, as fake phishing letters and emails may use false contact details. If an account is opened fraudulently in your name, the organisation should close the account and wipe any entry from your Credit Report.

In the absence of such a notification, it may not be until someone checks their Credit Report that they first notice strange, unrecognised activity such as Credit Application Searches they didn’t make or Credit Accounts they didn’t open. Linked Addresses that seemingly have nothing to do with you can also be a sign of identity theft.

Who do I contact if I’m victim of fraud?

Contacting the company listed against a new account or product is crucial. If fraudulent activity has taken place, the company can close the account and wipe any resultant entry from your Credit Report and the sooner it is tackled, the better.

Visiting the official Action Fraud website will allow you to log the activity with the police. You will also get a Crime Reference Number, which some banks and lending institutions require before investigating claims of fraud.

Informing your bank that you’ve fallen victim to fraud should prompt them to cancel your existing card(s) and issue a new one. They can also offer advice about protecting yourself, specific to your situation.

Contacting Cifas will allow you to apply for Protective Registration. This can defend against further attempts to use your identity, so is a strong reactive measure. You can check for the Cifas marker by viewing your Multi Agency Credit Report, where it will be listed under ‘Fraud Alerts’.

Because your Credit Report details the Credit Accounts, Linked Addresses, and Credit Application Searches held in your details, you can use it to spot any records that you don’t recognise.

How do I check my Credit Report?

Our Multi-Agency Credit Report is the most detailed Credit Report in the UK, having complete information from all four Credit Reference Agencies, including the Protective Registration entries, searches, and accounts in your details. You can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, then just £14.99 per month, which you can cancel easily at any time online.

Rest easy knowing you’ve checked everything from the four Credit Reference Agencies, all in one easy-to-use format and with expert help from Professional Credit Analysts on hand, should you need it.

Updated on 08/01/2020 by Sam Griffin

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