In my last blog, I discussed the reason why solicitors require your ID and bank statements when you are buying and selling property, the natural progression from that is how property fraud happens and what can you do to prevent it.
The Land Registry has stated that “Since 2009 we have prevented 279 fraudulent registrations with a combined property value of £133.4 million, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of our register.” In 2014 alone property fraud in the UK totalled almost £10 million and is on the increase.
People are increasingly falling victim to property fraud as the scammer’s tactics become progressively more sophisticated. Criminals will commit identify theft and impersonate anyone involved in the property transaction to falsely obtain mortgage funds or even to sell your property without you knowing. Your home is often your most valuable asset and as such you need to protect it.
We sell our homes for large sums of money, which makes it highly attractive for scammers to sell your home from right under your nose, they will transfer your property into their name using false documents and often take out a mortgage against your property. Your property is more at risk if there is no mortgage, it is rented out or empty. In addition, properties that are not mortgaged or registered with Land Registry are seen as more high risk.
Land Registry’s Property Alert is one of our most effective fraud prevention measures, where Land Registry sends email alerts to subscribers whenever there is significant activity on a property they are monitoring, such as a new mortgage being taken out. Since Property Alert’s launch in 2014 160,000 accounts have been created.
You can set up a property alert at https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/ or for more information on how to protect your property please contact the Kirwans property team.