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High-status city dwellers most at risk of mortgage fraud

  • 26/09/2016
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High-status city dwellers most at risk of mortgage fraud
Homeowners both living in pricier properties and in a city centre are experiencing the biggest rise in identity theft through fraudulent activity in mortgage applications.

Research published by Experian, showed that while mortgage fraud fell slightly to 63 in 10,000 applications compared to 81 over the last three years, inner-city dwellers with high-status jobs now account for 10% of all identity theft cases for mortgage fraud, up from 7% last year.

A fall in first party fraud, where individuals misrepresent themselves on mortgage applications, was attributed to the overall drop in fraudulent cases, but a rise in third party fraud from 4% to 5% of all fraudulent applications was ‘significant’ due to the sums involved being much higher than most other fraud cases.

Often homeowners’ personal details are stolen by fraudsters intercepting emails or stealing mail between borrowers and solicitors and then diverting large payments.

Nick Mothershaw, fraud expert from Experian, said: “Unfortunately fraudsters are very canny, and they either go for the easiest targets or the biggest potential ‘wins’. If they can find a way through the fraud defences, or manage to coerce professionals involved in the mortgage process, the pickings are rich.”

At the same time, Generation Rent – private renters in shared accommodation aged 26 to 35 – continued to be the biggest target for fraudsters, accounting for 18% of all victims.

But according to Experian, fraudsters are increasingly focusing their sights on ‘transient renters’, who are generally aged between 18 to 25 years and move more regularly between low-cost housing in the private rented sector. These individuals saw the biggest rise in fraud over the last 12 months and now account for 7% of all fraud victims, compared to 5% per cent last year.

“People who live in rented homes need to know that fraud is a very real and, sadly, growing danger for them in particular,” Mothershaw added.

“What makes them easy targets for fraudsters is the fact that many share accommodation and also move regularly – within one or two years.  Unless they are regularly monitoring all their credit applications, it is likely to be a while before they realise they have become victims.  They are also high users of smart phones and social media, so they really are prime targets.”

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