Property frauds cost Land Registry millions as many scams fail to be prevented

A Freedom of Information request to the Land Registry has shown that there have been 678 claims for property fraud over the last 14 years.

The total pay-out across England and Wales has been £73.3m, averaging £107,669 per claim.

As a comparison, online scams set the average victim back £600.

The FoI request was made by ABC Finance, which also found that the Land Registry received over twice as many fraud claims as it had prevented since 2009.

Altogether 279 property frauds were prevented by the Land Registry in the ten years to the end of 2018.

A typical property fraud is where someone else assumes the identity of the rightful owner and gets the deeds altered, often going on to be a fake seller; or diverts buyers’ funds by hacking into solicitors’ emails.

Properties most at risk are where the real owner is not present and include rental and vacant homes; high-value properties; and those without mortgages.

https://abcfinance.co.uk/

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3 Comments

  1. TwitterSalisPropNews

    This should be falling dramatically now, as fake and bogus ID is weeded out:
    1. by estate agents at last having to secure ID of their own client who purports to be the owner
    2. conveyancers then carrying out their own checks which now comprise:
    – writing to a property where their client is not living (in case it alerts the ‘real owners’)
    – ensuring their clients gives them ID tying them to the sale property if not living there
    – by electronic ID checks to corroborate their clients ID from additional sources
    – while the lawyer pretends to work for the client, going behind more and more of their clients’ backs and reporting suspicions of ID fraud/money landering to the NCA – https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/making-a-suspicious-activity-report/
    BUT sadly HMLR and the Government still allow the ‘anyone can obtain a copy of anyone elses registered title’ deeds system.

     

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  2. Eric Walker

    One thing agents can do is encourage buyers and landlords to sign up for Land Registry Property Alerts. It a free service which I am sure customers will really appreciate as most are unaware of the risks.  https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/ 

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  3. Will2

    There are so many scammers because of lack of policing and weak enforcement when they are caught. Severe punishment would deter some of these scumbags.  On identifying a scammer who changed the council tax when my tenants went on holiday (the scammer lived in the maisonette below) is a prime example clearly setting up a false identity.  The council were not very interested as it was not a loss to them but did confirm the scammers telephone number therefore making his true identity obvious. The police fraud line was no better – true wasters. When he realised I was on to him he did a runner from the flat. Irritating as this person could have been prosecuted and punished and the police wonder why some people take matters into their own hands.

    I agree the property alerts service is very good and recommend it to all landlords.

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