Fraud relating to property has increased so much that the Law Society has been forced to issue a warning. Householders are particularly worried about falling victim to this kind of crime and are willing to take any advice offered as to the prevention. The Law Society is advising homeowners to avoid any schemes or insurances that cost money and promise protection from fraud.
According to the regulatory body which governs solicitors, these schemes offer no protection against property fraud. Measures have already been put in place by the Land Registry to try and counteract any fraud before it takes place, but a lot of people are so worried about this that they are handing over large sums of money to companies who make greatly exaggerated claims of protection.
A statement from the Law Society clearly says that these insurances create no effective barriers between the householder and a fraudster, and they should steer well clear. The wording in the adverts for these products make it sound like a necessity, particularly if the home has not outstanding mortgage. As these properties are most likely to be owned by elderly people, the sales tactic is particularly worrying.
Last year alone, property fraud in the UK amounted to £20 million, of which nearly £5 million was reimbursed to victims by the Land Registry. The accessibility of the Internet, and in particular, access to title deeds online, is thought to be one of the main reasons the crime has escalated so much.
Fraudsters have been able to access mortgage and account details as well as signatures. They have then used the Land Registry to create a false identity and have tricked legal experts and banks into transferring the ownership of the property. Criminals have then taken out mortgages and even sold the property without the owner’s knowledge.