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Latest Cifas research reveals sharp increase in cases involving attempts to hide adverse credit

6 February 2020
  • Cases of individuals attempting to hide a bad credit history by withholding a previous address up by a quarter in 2019
  • 21-30 year olds account for nearly three-quarters of cases involving application fraud activity

Latest research from Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has revealed that the number of people failing to disclose a previous address in an attempt to hide their adverse credit rose by just over a quarter (26%) in 2019.

Adverse credit refers to a poor repayment history – usually on loans or credit cards.

The research, which has been released as part of the Cifas Faces of Fraud campaign, found that over half of all cases involving application fraud activity filed on the National Fraud Database between January-September 2019 were in relation to adverse credit. Almost all of these adverse credit cases - 95% - were related to an undisclosed address.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of these cases related to 21-30 year olds, and this age group also saw a small rise of four percent in 2019. However incidents amongst the older age group decreased, with cases involving 51-60 year olds down by a fifth in 2019 when compared to the same period in the previous year, and by 16% for 41-50 year olds.

The rise in adverse credit fraud could be as a result of a 191% recent surge in applications for basic bank accounts in 2019, and a 12% increase for current accounts.

Withholding information or lying about adverse credit on an application for a financial product is fraud, and could result in applicants finding it difficult to obtain future financial products, or possibly being reported to the police for investigation - potentially leading to a criminal conviction and a prison sentence.

Interestingly, research carried out by Cifas and WPI Economics earlier this year revealed that seven percent of British adults have not declared adverse credit on applications, with nine percent believing it was reasonable not to do so.

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘Always be upfront about your financial situation and never attempt to hide your credit history when applying for loans or other financial products. Banks and building societies have sophisticated credit checking systems, and so there is an extremely high chance that you will be found out if you lie on your application.

‘If you are found to have withheld information on an application for a financial product, then you are committing fraud. Not only could this cause difficulties when applying for credit and financial products in the future, but it could result in more serious consequences such as a police investigation.’

For more information contact: 

Corinne Gladstone 
Head of Communications, Cifas 
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654

Notes to editors

Recorded cases of application fraudulent activity: (Jan-Sep 2019):


Age group

2019 Change (compared to Jan-Sep 2018)














  • The Cifas report ‘Tackling First Party Fraud’ in conjunction with WPI Economics was published in July 2019 and available here.
  • Figures for basic bank accounts rose 191% in 2019 (920 vs 316) and current accounts by 12%  (4090 vs 3638).

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 2018, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.4 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. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently. We also run a scheme called Protecting the Vulnerable, offered free of charge to local authorities to protect those under the care of Court Deputies who are unable to access financial products and whose identities may be at risk.


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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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