It’s scary to think about but your home could be fraudulently sold or the deeds could be transferred without your knowledge - this is an example of Property Fraud!
You are most at risk of property fraud when:
· your identity has been stolen
· you rent out your property
· you have paid off your mortgage as no additional authority is needed by a lender to confirm the change of ownership
· you live overseas
· the property is empty
· the property isn’t registered with Land Registry - Properties most likely to be unregistered are those that haven’t been mortgaged or sold since 1990. You can check the register
How to protect yourself against property fraud:
· Make sure your property is registered with Land Registry Land Registry offer a free . Alerts are sent to you via email when official searches and applications are received against the property you want monitored. So for example, if someone tries to make changes to a property you have registered – such as applying to change the registered owner of your property – a notification is sent to you via email. It won’t automatically block any changes to the register but it will tell you what is happening so you can take appropriate action if necessary. You can monitor up to 10 properties free of charge so its a great service for Landlords too. More than one person can monitor a property at the same time, which is useful if you and your siblings are looking after a property for parents in care, however its important to make sure your contact details are up to date.
· You can safeguard your property further by applying to put a restriction on title deeds of your property. This stops the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you. A fee for this service may apply.
· Shred or destroy your old documents so that nothing showing your name, address or other personal details can be taken.
· Store any documents carrying personal information – such as your driving licence, passport, bank statements, utility bills or credit card transaction receipts – in a safe and secure place
· Do not disclose any sensitive security or bank details over the phone. A bank will never ask you to confirm your PIN or password if you receive a call claiming to be from your bank, call them back on their publicly listed number
· Monitor your credit report and regularly check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity
· Think before you buy online – use a secure website which displays the company’s contact details, look for a golden padlock symbol and a clear privacy and returns policy. Check the web address begins with https
· When you move house, contact your bank, credit and store card providers, mobile phone provider, utility providers, TV licensing, your doctor and dentist etc, and give them your new address – you don’t want the new tenants to have access to letters containing your personal information. You can also redirect your mail by contacting Royal Mail
I hope no one reading this is ever a victim of property fraud, however if you think you may have been, contact the Land Registry property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
If you would like to read more information with relation to property fraud visit the Gov.uk website by clicking here.