Cifas Homepage
NewsroomCareersContact Us

Cifas research reveals 1 in 6 UK adults have exaggerated earnings to secure a mortgage

31 January 2024

Research carried out by Cifas has revealed that 1 in 6 (16%) UK adults have admitted that they, or someone they know, have misled mortgage companies about their annual salary in order to purchase their dream home.

Mortgage application fraud takes place when either false or altered documents are provided to support an application.

A survey commissioned by UK-leading fraud prevention service, Cifas, has revealed that several individuals are still prepared to dishonestly inflate their earnings by as much as £10,000, and even forge payslips, to get the keys to their new home.

Surveying 2,000 UK adults, the research revealed that 14% of respondents did not think it was illegal to provide mortgage lenders with misleading information, with nearly 1 in 10 (9%) believing it was ‘reasonable’ to exaggerate their income. The most likely age group to commit this type of fraud was 25-34 (16%).

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘While buying your dream home can be an extremely exciting time, it is important to be realistic about what is affordable. Being dishonest about earnings and providing false information when applying for a mortgage is not the answer – not only are you breaking the law, but it can make life incredibly difficult when making repayments.

‘First party fraud is not ‘reasonable’ to commit nor is it victimless. Exaggerating earnings and even going as far as to supply forged payslips can result in a number of severe consequences. Bank accounts can be closed, credit scores will be harmed, and many individuals could find themselves with a criminal record and even a prison sentence.’

Speaking about the survey data, Ben Thompson, Deputy CEO at the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), added: ‘The findings point to this fraudulent activity being most common among younger homebuyers and this is perhaps not a surprise, given the affordability barriers that hold this generation back from the very reasonable aspiration of owning their own home.

‘While more needs to be done to raise the awareness of just how serious a crime mortgage fraud is, the Government also needs to look at the root cause of this issue. And for younger buyers in particular, it must use the various tools it has at its disposal to smooth the path into homeownership. It shouldn’t be the norm that people can’t buy their first property until they are well into their 30s, and the government must do more.

‘To help the fight against fraud, we continue to train and advise MAB advisers to constantly look out for any suspicious activity or application data, thereby helping to protect themselves and their customers, as well as the financial institutions. Awareness of this issue at all levels is key, especially in more pressured financial times we are now in.’

Overall, Cifas’ research revealed a year-on-year increase in people committing one or more first party frauds – with 1 in 8 UK adults admitting they had done so in the last 12 months.


Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Hayley Paterson, Cifas Press and PR Manager, on 020 4551 7072 or

Survey methodology

The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK people between 7-19 September 2023.

About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2023, Cifas member organisations prevented around £1.3 billion of fraud losses. 

Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

Website | LinkedIn | X

About Opinion Matters

Opinion Matters is an independent market research agency that create bespoke market research solutions for businesses, organisations, and agencies worldwide.  Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Single Person Discount fraud increases as 1 in 5 admit to dishonest claims

22 February 2024

Leading fraud prevention service, Cifas, is urging people to stop and think about the lasting impact of Council Tax fraud following a rise in individuals dishonestly claiming Single Person Discount.


Cifas achieves prestigious Investors in People gold accreditation 

12 December 2023

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has been awarded gold accreditation by Investors in People.

Back to newsroom >
Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at