Potential Property Fraud Crisis in the UK

Research has found that the UK Land Registry receives twice as many property fraud claims that they are able to prevent.

Property fraud is a serious ongoing issue in the UK, with millions lost each year. ABC Finance have looked at a freedom of information request into the UK Land Registry and have found that the UK could be in a property fraud crisis.

The research revealed that the average property scam pay-out stands at £107,669, compared to the average online scam which only sets people back £600 as scammers target vulnerable properties and uniformed people looking to buy or rent.

The data also showed that property cons are by far the most common occurrence of fraud reported by the UK’s local authorities.

In 2018 71% of fraud was property fraud- valued at £216m. Over the past decade the Land Registry has paid £73.3m, with a total number of 678 claims.

It’s also worthwhile comparing the number of fraudulent cases that have been prevented since 2009 – 279 – with the number of claims in the same period – 10,141.

And it isn’t just homeowners and landlords that have to be aware of scammers, as renting is also rife with potential for fraud.

Between 2014 and 2018, 18,645 reports relating to rental fraud were made in the UK. In the same period, victims reported losing £22.1m to rental fraud.

A lot of work is going into the prevention of property fraud, but there is clearly more work to be done in order to stop millions of pounds being stolen each year.

Paula Higgins, CEO at HomeOwners Alliance, said:

“Unfortunately, the value of successful frauds of property sales have more than tripled – from £7m in 2013 to £25m in 2017.

“Email and IT systems (especially those of conveyancers) are being attacked continuously. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated – fake emails can now be very hard to spot, and people may find themselves caught out especially when under the stress of buying a home.”

Read the full report here

 

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