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Author: Richard Moring - Published: 13th April 2023
Not many people have heard of National Hunter which is a British credit fraud checking agency that operates an “anti-fraud data sharing system”. It is operated on behalf of its members, around 90 British financial institutions, including banks, building societies, mortgage lenders and finance companies. Information entered by applicants for credit within one of the member organisations is recorded in the system, and can be cross-checked against other applications.
For instance, a person applying for a loan or mortgage with one company and stating their salary as £10,000 could have their application rejected if in a subsequent application for a different product from a different company then stated their salary as £100,000. The process is not fully automated in the way most credit scoring is but suspicious applications are flagged by National Hunter and then checked before an institution makes the decision whether to decline an application.
They are a not-for-profit organisation, owned by their members and process in excess of 20 million applications per year, via more than 100 separate data feeds.
Their core business sectors include all of the major forms of financial products:
- Current accounts
- Credit cards
- Unsecured loans
- Motor & Asset Finance
- Commercial Finance
- Merchant Services
The way in which the system works is that one of their members will submit application data to National Hunter, and their system will match this data against other members' applications based on a number of system rules. These rules help determine whether the information contained within the application is accurate, by cross-matching against other applications in order to spot commonalities or anomalies that are potentially indicative of fraud. If anomalies are spotted then this will be flagged for further investigation.
The system was set up in 1993, by MCL Software of Southport, Merseyside, now an Experian subsidiary. National Hunter is often described as the UK’s secret credit reference agency due to the fact that it doesn’t advertise its true address or list a phone number where they can be contacted. There is also no email address leaving the only way to reach them being good old fashioned letter.