Thursday, March 13, 2014

Property Alert will help identify fraud

The Land Registry has launched a Property Alert service to help fight property fraud. Property fraud can happen in many ways. For example, fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by using forged documents, or by impersonating the registered owner.

The fraudsters may then raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner's knowledge before disappearing without making repayments, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.

Working with the police and other agencies the Land Registry stopped fraud on properties worth more than £62 million between September 2009 and January 2014.

Alasdair Lewis, director of Legal Services, said: "Following a successful trial of Property Alert, we hope that many homeowners will want to sign up for this service to help them protect what is probably their most valuable asset."

People can sign up and register up to three properties to be monitored. Email alerts will be sent when Land Registry receives an application to change the register as well as for official searches. They can then judge whether or not the activity is suspicious and if they should seek further advice. For example, if you receive an alert that a bank has lodged a search on your property but you haven't applied for a mortgage, you may want to seek legal advice, contact Action Fraud, or contact the bank in question to tell them you are the owner and have not applied for a mortgage. Investigations into the authenticity of the mortgage application can then begin.