Protecting the Vulnerable is our service for local authorities, helping them keep safe the personal details of vulnerable clients who may be targeted by fraudsters.
Sadly, fraudsters can and do target vulnerable members of our society. They exploit their circumstances for financial gain by opening new bank accounts, taking out loans, setting up and spending on credit cards or committing to expensive mobile phone contracts.
A person will be considered vulnerable when they are subject to a Court Order of Protection (or Deputyship and Appointeeship cases) under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and deemed as incapable of managing their own finances.
If these vulnerable individuals’ details are fraudulently misused, then they may be exposed to financial losses or liabilities, and potentially being labelled as a fraudster when contracts are not honoured. It can also cause significant distress for vulnerable individuals and those caring for them.
Our free Protecting the Vulnerable service can help prevent that distress. We work with public bodies to securely house details of their vulnerable clients (for example, where the local authority/carer acts as a Deputy or Appointee in terms of managing their financial affairs) in our National Fraud Database.
If one of our member organisations receives an application for a product or service in the registered person’s name and they search Cifas’ database, they will get an alert informing them of the individuals’ vulnerable status. The application is then automatically declined, and any fraud prevented.
The service is also available to members of the public that have a Court of Protection Order or Enduring Power of Attorney for someone in their care. Please contact us for application details.
Find out how to become a deputy for someone you look after on the UK Government website.
Protecting the Vulnerable helps a local authority or relevant care body protect the adults it has responsibility for from coming to any financial harm. The service also helps to protect vulnerable individuals from their own actions – such as applying for products or services without fully understanding the financial consequences.
If you are interested in participating in the scheme or would like more information please contact us.
"Within two months of registering with Cifas, search alerts revealed two disturbing cases of attempted fraud, both online and in person. We were able to take immediate action to protect two vulnerable people from further exploitation. The Cifas protective register has proved to be highly effective and I would recommend this service to all local authorities."
Angela Small, Appointee & Court Deputy Officer, Birmingham City Council
Cifas is also working with The Association of Public Authority Deputies (APAD) and our service has been recommended as best practice to their members.
An online application was made to one of our retail member organisations for a wide screen colour television. The member ran the application through Cifas and matched on a Protective Registration for the Vulnerable case filed by the local authority.
The fraud team reviewed the case and realised the named individual was not able to make such an application.
The member telephoned the ‘applicant’ on the number provided and asked him to attend the store to complete the application. Unsurprisingly, the ‘applicant’ never materialised.
A long established customer of a bank came into the branch accompanied by his ‘social worker’. The gentleman wanted to switch his bank account from a savings account to an account he could access with a cash card.
The bank ran his details through Cifas and matched on a Protective Registration for the Vulnerable case. The bank contacted us for advice, and we contacted the local authority. They advised us that this situation could not be genuine, as no social worker would accompany one of their clients to a bank, and that any change in financial products would come from the local authority, not from the individual.
We relayed this information to the bank, and provided the local authority with the name of the individual so they could carry out welfare checks.