Mortgage fraud rose 8% in 2011

The latest Experian Fraud Report shows that UK fraud is now at a record level. During the past 12 months, Experian estimates fraud increased by at least 4% amounting to annual UK losses of £70billion.

Mortgage fraud continues to rise with 34 out of 10,000 transactions found to be fraudulent in 2011.

The figure was 26 per 10,000 in 2008. Nick Mothershaw, Experian Director of Identity and Fraud Solutions said: “This looks to be a record-breaking year for fraud in the UK as the cost of austerity bites and Britons continue to struggle with challenging economic times.

“The scale of fraud is highlighted by some big numbers coming to light this year, with several large-scale losses dominating the headlines largely in the financial sector, which typically shouldered the brunt of losses estimated at around £3.5 billion during 2011."

93% of attempted mortgage fraud is committed by the consumer.

Typically, this involves falsification of employment status, financial information and non-disclosure of adverse credit.

Mr Mothershaw said: “The likelihood is that the rising mortgage fraud numbers are largely prompted by a significant segment of financially-stressed, ‘non-professional’ fraudsters, willing to hide a patchy credit history, over-exaggerate their earning potential, personal finances and employment status.”

Third-party mortgage fraud reports are also increasing, although this is more difficult to spot and usually requires collusion with professionals.

Mr Mothershaw pointed out the increasingly sophisticated safeguards that were allowing frauds to be spotted.

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