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Fraud prevention service sees jump in attempts to hide poor repayment histories

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

There has been a jump in people trying to hide poor repayment histories when applying for financial products, according to a fraud prevention service.

Cifas said the number of people failing to disclose a previous address in an attempt to hide their adverse credit increased by just over a quarter (26%) in 2019 compared with 2018.

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

Cifas said 21 to 30-year-olds account for nearly three quarters of cases involving application fraud activity.

It said withholding information or lying about adverse credit on an application for a financial product is fraud.

Previous research from Cifas and WPI Economics found 7% of adults across Britain have not declared adverse credit on applications, with 9% believing it was reasonable not to do so.

Mike Haley, chief executive of Cifas, said: “Always be up-front 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 police investigation.”