The Risks Of Property Fraud And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

Buying a home is a huge achievement, but imagine the horror of discovering someone has stolen the legal title to your dream house through fraud.

Property fraud is a growing concern in the UK, and unfortunately, the consequences for victims can be devastating.

But fear not, there are steps you can take to safeguard your home, or any properties you are responsible for (eg. as an executor or Attorney)

Here’s the Lowdown on Property Fraud:

  • The Many Faces of Fraud: Criminals can steal your identity to take out mortgages or even sell your property without your knowledge. They may use forged documents, legally change their name to match yours and pose as a legitimate seller
  • Who’s Most at Risk?: Empty properties, especially those where the owner has died, those owned outright (without a mortgage), and homes with absentee landlords are prime targets.

How to Fight Back:

  1. Know the Red Flags: Be wary of unsolicited offers to buy your property, unusual activity on your bank statements related to the property, or pressured sales tactics.
  2. Land Registry Property Alerts: Register with the Land Registry’s Free Property Alert service:  This will notify you of any applications to change the ownership of your property, or register any unauthorised mortgages
  3. Stay Vigilant: Keep an eye on your property, especially if it’s unoccupied. 
  4. Protect your Legal title with an anti-fraud Restriction: The Land Registry can apply an anti-fraud title restriction on your property as an extra layer of protection

Remember: By staying informed and taking the right precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to property fraud. Don’t let your dream home turn into a nightmare!

Please speak to our Property team if you need any advice or help setting up any of these additional protections on the legal title to your property

The contents of this article are not intended and should not be taken as legal advice