How to remove a CIFAS Marker

01 May 2024, 25 mins ago

We are increasingly approached by individuals who have been adversely affected by a CIFAS Marker seeking advice on how to remove it.

In some scenarios, the CIFAS Marker may have been wrongly applied. Being in this unfair situation can have a hugely detrimental effect due to the wide-ranging, complex and adverse consequences for the individual affected.

In this blog, we examine what a CIFAS Marker is and how to attempt to remove it.

What is CIFAS?

CIFAS stands for the “Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System”.  According to their website, CIFAS is a not-for-profit fraud prevention membership organisation comprising members from organisations of all sectors.

CIFAS claims to be the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, managing the largest database of instances of fraudulent conduct.

CIFAS is essentially a data-sharing organisation whose stated purpose is to reduce instances of fraud and financial crime.

What is a CIFAS Marker?

A CIFAS Marker is basically a mark placed against an individual by a financial institution that suspects fraudulent activity.  However, individuals can also end up with a CIFAS Marker if they have been victims of fraud.

The purpose of the CIFAS Marker is to warn other financial institutions about that individual.  CIFAS is the database on which these markers are registered and can be stored for up to six years.

There are a variety of different types of CIFAS Markers.

How can a CIFAS Marker affect me?

In summary, the effects of having a CIFAS Marker can be serious.

Given that the CIFAS marker will be viewed in an adverse way, appearing on the CIFAS database can have a very negative and pervasive effect on an individual’s ability to form a relationship with a financial institution (e.g. open a bank account), and even prevent an individual from obtaining a job in some professions (including the civil service).

How can I remove a CIFAS Marker?

The key to removing a CIFAS Marker is to initially target the CIFAS Marker database. 

As such, the first step in applying to remove a CIFAS marker will be making a Data Subject Access Request (“DSAR”) against CIFAS.

A DSAR is a way for consumers to utilise Data Protection Law to make a legally supported request for their persona data and information from companies processing their personal information. 

The DSAR results can then be analysed to establish which financial institution requested that the CIFAS Marker be added.  It might also be beneficial at this stage to make a DSAR against the relevant financial institution, in order to understand why you have been assigned a CIFAS marker.

Appropriate, bespoke and targeted representations can then be made to the relevant financial institution, requesting the removal of the CIFAS Marker.

If the request for removal is denied, then there is a right of appeal through CIFAS.

If the appeal process via CIFAS is not successful then a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, and even litigation, can be considered.

Adverse Information on Compliance Databases

We are increasingly approached by individuals who feel that incorrect and/or inaccurate data about them stored in compliance databases is having an adverse effect on their relationships with financial institutions and causing subsequent issues, such as bank accounts being closed and difficulties in opening a bank account.

We have also written a series of blogs on a basic overview of The main functions of compliance databases such as World-Check and How you can correct information about yourself on such databases.

Bank Account Closures or “De-banking”

Finally, we are increasingly being approached by individuals who have been “de-banked”.

We have previously written about how other issues individuals may face, such as account closures, are not limited to political figures in the UK and affect many thousands of lawful individual and business customers every year.  These cases have exposed the difficult balance many financial institutions and their individual and business customers must navigate to gain and maintain access to basic banking services. 

To assist those whose accounts have been closed, Gherson’s financial crime, investigations and regulatory team have previously written blogs titled “Why has my bank account been closed”, “Why has my business bank account been closed?” and “140,000 SMEs “de-banked” last year – why could I have been de-banked?”

What are the proposed new laws aimed at preventing de-banking?” and, more recently, “Why the proposed new laws to try and prevent de-banking do not go far enough”. 


Gherson’s regulatory, white-collar and investigations team are highly experienced in providing assistance on what you can do if your bank freezes or closes your account.  This includes assisting you in submitting a request under data protection legislation, otherwise known as a Data Subject Access Request, to ascertain what information banks and other financial institutions may be holding on you and their decision-making, and then analysing the response and assisting with any appropriate challenge.

If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice; send us an email at or, alternatively, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay up to date with the latest developments.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice.  Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position.  Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog.  For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson.  Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2024