Headlines: October 3rd, 2011

The Audit Commission has launched a pilot scheme to help UK banks and credit providers identify fraudulent applications by immigration offenders.

The Commission and the UK Border Agency will share information in ‘real time’ with financial institutions. Each year the UK Border Agency processes around 3.5 million applications to visit, live, work or study in the UK. The aim is to prevent those with no right to stay or work in the UK from accessing financial services. In return, financial institutions will provide the Agency with information on where illegal working and employment is taking place, supporting the Agency’s work in tackling immigration crime.

Identifying immigration offenders in the UK will protect banks from fraudulent applications, for example stopping mortgages being granted to people with no right to work in the UK and therefore no means to repay loans. It will also make it more difficult for organised foreign criminal gangs to defraud banks by making bogus credit applications.

The new data matching service will sit alongside the established data matching work. But the new instant matching facility will help participants to target fraud more effectively. Data from around 1,300 organisations – including councils, the police, hospitals and nearly 100 private companies – is held in the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Intelligence database.