How to protect your home against fraudsters
The fight against fraud is usually associated with banking, credit cards and more recently cybercrime. However, property fraud is not always on the forefront of our minds. Fraudsters have sold or mortgaged properties fraudulently and without the legal owner knowing until it was too late.
The HM Registry has stated that an individual is more at risk of property fraud if:
o You rent out your property
o Your identity has been stolen
o You live overseas
o Your property is empty
o Your property isn’t mortgaged
o If the property isn’t registered with HM Land Registry
How does property fraud occur?
The above situations can be taken advantage of by fraudsters, for example by lodging a false charge on your property register thus giving them a legal interest in the property. Also, they have been known to steal an owner’s identity and sell the property from under the rightful owner’s nose (especially if the property is vacant/tenanted)!
What is the property alert scheme?
To protect and help property owners, the Land Registry has provided a free “Property Alert Scheme” whereby homeowners can monitor up to ten properties once they’ve signed up.
If any changes to the title register have been made, (including an official search with priority – used by potential buyers of the property), then a notification will be sent straight to you, allowing the time to take appropriate action.
If you believe any fraud has taken place, contact HM Land Registry property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here at Versus Law, our conveyancing team do all we can in assisting both buyers and sellers in preventing property fraud. Throughout the conveyancing transaction, we offer guidance on the steps to be taken in order to avoid fraud. Moreover, our own security checks are carried out to ensure maximum security.
Whilst we work to avoid fraud in every way, we recommend that all property owners take advantage of the Land Registry’s Property Alert Scheme, to guarantee that you are extra cautious and have ongoing peace of mind throughout your ownership.