Home owners and buy-to-let landlords are being warned of a potential rise in property fraudsters activity. This is more prevalent during the summer house marketing season.
This alert comes from Midlands property lawyer Javed Ahmed who says that owners could find themselves conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by people who “clone” their identities and sell houses and flats out from under them.
Mr Ahmed, from Midlands law firm mfg Solicitors, is concerned there will be a rise in fraud over the summer – typically the busiest time for the property market – and said owners needed to act now to protect themselves.
The assistant solicitor said fraudsters operating across the region had even been known to fool estate agents and lawyers by posing as the owner of property and then managing to take out loans or mortgage the building without the real owner’s knowledge.
Mr Ahmed said:
“Property is usually the most valuable asset people will own and it’s a hugely attractive target for fraudsters who want to sell it and pocket the money.
“It is something people think will never happen to them but it is a very real threat and people here in the Midlands must guard against it.
“Those who are most at risk are people who rent out their property, or whose property is vacant.
“It’s particularly an issue for those who own the property outright without a mortgage but one of the best steps is for owners to arrange a restriction on their title to prevent the Land Registry registering a sale without the identities being verified…”
Ahmed says this is a process best taken care of by a professional to ensure every box is ticked.
Mr Ahmed has produced guidance on the issue which advises people on a variety of ways to protect themselves and their property. This includes:
- Ensuring the property is registered at HM Land Registry
- Be part of HM Land Registry’s monitoring service to ensure you are notified of any suspicious activity involving the property
- Updating the property address with HM Land Registry should it be sold.
Javed Ahmed, Assistant Solicitor can be reached at mfg Solicitors on 0845 55 55 321 or firstname.lastname@example.org