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Property fraud service hits 19,000 sign-ups

by: Adam Williams
  • 05/03/2015
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Property fraud service hits 19,000 sign-ups
An alert service set up by the Land Registry to prevent property fraud has been used by more than 19,000 people in its first year.

The government service allows homeowners to sign up and receive notifications when certain activity takes place.

The Land Registry said the properties most at risk from fraud include tenanted properties – where a tenant might try to mortgage or sell the property without the landlord’s knowledge – and empty properties.

Properties which are the subject of family disputes or are currently without a mortgage are also seen as targets.

It said fraudsters could steal someone’s identity and attempt to gain ownership of a property by using forged documents. They could then try to raise money by mortgaging the property without the real owner’s knowledge.

Tracey Salvin, property alert service manager, said the Land Registry had helped prevent fraud on more than £70m worth of properties since 2009 and the alert service had helped these efforts.

“The aim of Property Alert is to help people protect their home from fraudsters,” she said.

“There are many people who have no idea that someone could ‘steal’ their home from under them, but unfortunately it can and does happen. For example, someone may pretend to be you using forged documents and sell or mortgage your home.

“While this is not common, when it does happen it can have devastating consequences for the victim. Imagine finding out that someone else has sold or mortgaged your property without your knowledge and disappeared with the money, leaving you to pick up the pieces.”

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