How to protect your property from fraud
Your property is probably the most valuable asset you own so it's important to protect it from the risk of fraud. Sadly, fraud in all its forms is on the increase with cybercrime a rapidly growing area of concern. Whilst the elderly and most vulnerable in our community are often targeted, the reality is that we must all remain on our guard as every day clever, well organised and totally unscrupulous criminals are inventing new ways of defrauding innocent people.
Property transactions remain a major target for fraudsters with scams becoming increasingly common sophisticated. They include criminals who:
• Set up and hide behind a fake law firm.
• Intercept and manipulate emails.
• Impersonate property owners.
• Try to steal your identity.
You’re more at risk if your property is rented out, empty, mortgage-free or not registered with HM Land Registry
Unfortunately, scams when you are buying or selling property are more and more common. Criminals may try to intercept funds by conning you into transferring funds into their bank accounts instead of your conveyancers. They may also target you by offering what sounds like an amazingly profitable, quick buck, property scheme. The reason it sounds too good to be true is because it generally is.
Others are targeting the largest asset you may have – your property. The aim quite simply is to sell it or raise a new mortgage on it without your knowledge.
Sign up to Land Registry free Property Alert service and HMLR will notify you of certain applications affecting the property, you are monitoring, such as for a new mortgage or change of ownership. You can monitor up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales. You don’t have to own the property, so you could monitor the property of an elderly relative for example. To sign up to Property Alert, visit www.gov.uk/property-alert. Alerts are normally sent by email but you can still use the service if you’re not online. You can contact the Property Alert team on 0300 006 0478 or at firstname.lastname@example.org