Protecting your property from fraud
Property fraud is sadly a growing problem in today’s society. Your most valuable assets in life will likely be property and land, which is what makes them so attractive for fraudsters. Property fraud can get as far as your identity being stolen and your land and property sold without your knowledge. Even though this is a frightening thought, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your assets.
Common property scams
There are many property scams that include fraudsters stealing someone’s identity to sell or take out a mortgage on a property they do not own. There are even non-existent investment schemes or ‘quick sale’ companies that offer to buy houses in as little as seven days. If you’re a property owner, unfortunately, you’re at more risk of property fraud if you’re renting your property out. Similarly, if your home is empty because you often work away, if you’re mortgage-free or if your property is not registered with the Land Registry. Below we will list some ways in which you can avoid being scammed.
Register your property/land
As we’ve briefly covered, some properties are unregistered which means that their deeds may just be a bundle of documents. If this sounds like your home, we strongly recommend that you register your home with the land registry to give yourself a state guarantee and proof that you own the property. If you register your home, this will also make it more difficult for people to sell or claim your assets without your knowledge.
Once you’ve successfully registered your home, make sure you keep your contact details updated so that the land registry can easily contact you, should they find any issues. You can also now sign up for the free land registry alert service. This service guards your property against fraud by contacting you if there is any activity on your account, such as someone applying for a new mortgage on your home.
What to do if you feel at risk of property fraud?
When purchasing a new property, most solicitors will carry out necessary checks on your behalf. They will be sure to check the identity of everyone they deal with, especially the bank account details that any money will be transferred into. Lawyer Checker is one of the best methods to combat fraudsters, as it checks the history of a seller’s conveyancer to warn the new buyers that the seller could be fraudulent.
Ultimately, if you’re worried about property fraud, awareness is key. Avoid sending any emails with sensitive information like your account numbers and sort codes. You can also always talk to your solicitor to ensure you are comfortable with where your money is going.
If you have further questions on property fraud, get in touch with us today.