If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, the best thing you can do is take out ‘protective registration’. But what is protective registration, how does it work and how will it help you avoid becoming a victim of idenity fraud?
I’ll go through what protective registration is in detail below, as well as how much it costs and where you can apply.
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What Is Protective Registration?
Protective Registration is basically a flag on your credit profile.
This flag warns anyone checking your credit file (like when getting a mortgage or loan for instance), that extra identity checks are required for the application to proceed.
It will also tell them that you are potentially at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud.
So it works similar to this:
- Criminal attempts to obtain credit at Argos, or Currys (for exmple), in order to buy electrical goods.
- Criminal uses your identity to try and obtain this credit.
- Argos or Currys carry out a credit check on your details.
- Your credit file is flagged as potential risk, and you are flagged as being on the fraud database.
- Argos or Currys ask the criminal for more proof of identity (like a utility bill dated from the last 6 months).
- Criminal cannot provide this as they only have your driving licence.
- Argos or Currys deny the application.
Without protective registration, there will be no flag. No warning. No alert.
Argos or Currys may accept the application, and the criminal creates an account, orders products that are easy to sell on using that credit facility, they receive the goods and then you get the bill.
Even worse, they may even attempt the fraud at a much larger scale – like taking out a large loan in your name.
In a nutshell, that’s how it works.
You can apply here for protective registration.
Protective registration lasts for two years, and costs £25.
Who Are CIFAS?
CIFAS stands for Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System.
They are a non profit, membership organisation, founded all the way back in 1988.
They work directly with organisations across the private and public sector, allowing their members access to their fraud database (whichis the largest and most comprehensive fraud risk database in the UK) which collates and records instances of fraud, especially across banking institutions and financial institutions.
They also provide services for individuals (like protective registration).
Their main aim is to reduce fraud across industry, which is not surprising given the National Crime Agency estimate that fraud costs the UK £190 billion a year.
CIFAS are also a trusted UK Government partner.
Where Can I Apply For Protective Registration
You can apply for protective registration directly at cifas.org.uk.
It costs £25 for two years.
When Should I Apply For Protective Registration
You should apply for protective registration as soon as possible if:
- You know you have had your identity stolen recently, including if a website you hsve used where you have uploaded identity documents have had a cyber data breach
- You have had physical copies of driving licences, passports, birth certificates or utility bills stolen recently.
- You get letters sent to your home address from companies you’ve had no dealing with before.
- You get credit cards or internet bank cards (like Monzo, Sumup or Revolut for instance) sent to your home address when you haven’t applied for it.
- You get bills or invoices sent to your address that you don’t recognise.
If any of the above apply to you, I advise you start with the protective registration process immediately.
Will It Affect My Creidt Rating?
No. It will not affect your credit rating in a negative way.
However, getting loans, or having sofas on credit in the future will be harder, because you may be asked to provide several different methods to verify your identity.
So whereas you may have needed a driving licence to get a new sofa on credit before, now you’ll probably need driving licence, passport and a utility bill dated recently.
Just as a reminder, becoming a victim of identity theft is often a precursor of becoming a victim of identity fraud.
Identity theft is when criminals steal your identity, like driving licences, passports or bills, either physical copies that have been stolen from a home or from bins, or digital copies that are stolen via hacking or database breaches.
Identity fraud is when they then try and use those that identity to fraudulently obtain goods, money (loans) or services using your name, address and date of birth.
The first you’ll know of this is usually a letter sent to your home address demanding money for said goods, services or loans.
Having protective registration on your credit file is critical in this circumstance, because any member of CIFAS will be alerted that your name and address is a potential risk to their business, and will then start a chain of events that will require additional layers of identification for any application to proceed.
If you know you have had your identity compromised, or have started receiving odd letters from companies you’ve never heard of, I thouroughly advise you set the ball rolling as soon as possible, and get your name and address on the CIFAS database.
Other Articles You May Like
Here’s a small selection of articles you may also like from this site:
- – What Is Identity Theft
- – Vehicle Relay Theft – How To Stop It
- – RFID Bank Card Fraud
- – 5 Simple Ways To Spot A Scam Text Message
Here’s the sources used for this article:
Questions & Comments
If you have a question or a comment on this article about protective registration, please use the comments box below. I’ll try my best to reply to each and every one of your questions, comments and suggestions.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.