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Property Fraud is on the Rise

Incidences of property fraud is on the rise. There are steps home and land owners can put in place to help prevent someone trying to steal their property.

According to the Office of National Statistics fraud made up the largest component of property offences recorded by the police in the year to March 2016 at 21% of total property crime. By comparison, in March 2003 it accounted for just 4% of property offences.

Property fraud is when someone tries to steal your land or property. It is done by cloning your identity in order to sell or mortgage your property.  Rented, empty and mortgage free property is particularly vulnerable along with properties where there is a family or partnership dispute and one of the parties involved deals with the property without consulting the joint owner.

It is important where you have a registered title that you notify the Land Registry of any changes of your address. This should make it more difficult for someone trying to steal your identity. It also enables the Land Registry to contact you if they receive a suspicious registration. If someone makes a claim of adverse possession on your land you have 13 weeks to oppose the application and failure to comply with this is likely to lead to the claim succeeding.

The Land Registry has created a monitoring service called Property Alert which is available, free of charge, to anyone with a registered title. They will email you each time there is significant activity on the title of a property you are monitoring. If it is something you are not aware of it will give you the opportunity to contact the Land Registry so the matter can be investigated.

Be vigilant when electronically transferring monies to your solicitor. There have been cases, in connection with property purchases, where emails have been intercepted by fraudsters and led to money being transferred into bogus accounts. Check requests for money and confirmation of bank details by telephone.

For further details on the Land Registry’s Monitoring service visit their website here.

At Andrew Grant we take great care to ensure our employees receive regular training on how to watch out for fraudulent activities.

“Andrew Grant – you are in safe hands!”


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