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Whilst the elderly and most vulnerable in our community are often targeted, the reality is that we must all remain on our guard as well organised and unscrupulous criminals are inventing new ways of defrauding innocent people.

Property transactions remain a major target for fraudsters with scams becoming increasingly common and ever more sophisticated. They include criminals who:

  • Set up and hide behind a fake law firm;
  • Intercept and manipulate emails;
  • Impersonate property owners;
  • Try to steal your identity.

They may also target you by offering what sounds like an amazingly profitable, quick buck, property scheme. The reason it sounds too good to be true is because it generally is.

Others are targeting the largest asset you may have – your property. The aim quite simply is to sell it or raise a new mortgage on it without your knowledge.

"We really appreciated Rebecca's calm, considered and extremely efficient approach to getting the job done."

"Thanks to Theo and Roze for all their hard work - they were the best team and it was so reassuring to have them on my side."

"We have had an excellent service from Richard, and have already recommended him to friends."

Property fraud commonly involves a fraudster impersonating a property owner in an attempt to obtain funds by either selling the property or securing debt against the property.

The greatest risk is where:

  • Your identity has been stolen;
  • You rent out your property;
  • You live overseas;
  • The property is empty;
  • The property isn’t mortgaged;
  • The property isn’t registered with HM Land Registry.

Your title to the property will usually be registered at the HM Land Registry and all titles are public documents. The title is held electronically and there is therefore no physical ‘title deed’ that needs to be produced for the property in order for it to be sold or mortgaged.

Your property will be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it since 1998 – check the register if you are unsure or ask your conveyancer to check this for you.

Signing up to the HM Land Registry Property Alerts service

This service is available to anyone and means you will get a notification email if someone tries to make changes to the property you have signed up for or register a mortgage.

This is only a limited measure as it won’t stop the application but by alerting you, it enables you to take action. You can get alerts for up to ten properties – you don’t have to own that property or have any permission to set up an alert for it – and there is no fee to pay. Click here to find out more.