Property

Free alerts to protect you from property fraud

Free alerts to protect you from property fraudIf you have ever been burgled, you’ll know that it is one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world. The very fact that someone has been inside your property, gone through your possessions, and taken or destroyed whatever they pleased is disturbingly intrusive. But what if they have taken ownership of the property itself, assumed your identity and left you to pay the cost of their crime? How would that make you feel?

I can tell you, for a fact, that initially you wouldn’t feel anything at all. The reason is that you wouldn’t know anything about it until long after the event. The first indication that anything was amiss might even arrive in the form of a mortgage payment request, long after the fraudster has fled the scene.

Scary, isn’t it? But, as with many other little known financial security measures the solution is available for free.

You don’t need to feel the pain of property fraud!

Houses that are mortgage-free, unoccupied or being leased to a third-party tenant are often more vulnerable to this type of fraudulent attack than mortgaged, owner-occupied properties. That does not mean that any homeowner is safe, however, anyone of us could be at risk. The good news is that the simple solution to protect yourself is available to everyone (for up to 10 properties). All you need to do is register for the HM Land Registry property alert service.

Yes, it really is that simple: https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/

For the sake of a few minutes to create an account and register your properties, you could save yourself a whole load of retrospective financial troubles, and a stomach full of nasty feelings.

A quick rundown of how the villains work…

What happens is this: The thieves will set out on a fraudulent journey of property acquisition by forging documents and pretending to be the owners (you). They will do this in person or online, with a view to persuading a lender to take out a mortgage in your name – secured against the value of your property. That is why unoccupied, mortgage-free, or tenanted properties are more vulnerable.

As soon as they have their (your) money, the villains will disappear into their murky world of lies, and start targeting their next victim. Meanwhile, you will be left with the cleaning up to do when your first bill arrives. In most cases, of course, the crime will be recognised and you’ll probably avoid the full cost: But not before a lot of emotional pain, administrable hassle and financial name-clearing has darkened your door.

Prevention is always better than cure…

Once a property is registered, you will receive emails notifications or updates whenever any activity occurs in connection with that property. That way you can investigate or intervene before the situation gets out of hand or the fraudsters get their hands on the value in your property. You could also request a restriction to be entered on your property to be extra safe.

If you are still thinking, ‘that things like that only happen to other people’ please read the next sentence very carefully. Since 2009, HM Land Registry has successfully prevented around £120m of property fraud through its property alert service. Remember – the service is free – don’t wait to regret it!