The tactics that scammers are using are becoming more sophisticated, meaning that innocent home-owners are falling victim to property fraud. Property is one of the most valuable assets a person can own, and these fraudsters are trying to ‘steal’ it.
Property fraud can be seen in various different ways such as scammers transferring property into their own name through false documents or by getting you to transfer funds into their bank instead of your conveyancer’s. It’s important that you protect yourself from these crimes, so take a look at what you can do:
Do your research
Make sure you research a solicitor before you go ahead with anything. They should have a proper street address and a landline number, and if they promise you a deal that is too good to be true, it probably is. You should also make sure the firm acting for you is genuine by checking with lists by the Law Society or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
Set up property alert
The Land Registry has a monitoring service (Property Alert) which can notify you of any activity involving the register of your property and from then, you will be able to distinguish whether it is suspicious or not. If it is, it means you can take immediate action on the problem before it is too late. This service is completely free and allows you to register up to 10 properties with more than one user being able to monitor them at the same time.
Restrict your title
Another way to protect your home is to safeguard it by putting a restriction on title deeds of your property. If you do this, the Land Registry won’t be able to register a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies it themselves. This restriction costs £40 if you live in said property and is free if you own it privately but do not live in it.
Watch your transfers
One of the most common ways these scammers work is by having funds paid into their accounts. Any email communication that asks you to transfer money to an account should also be sent to you in the post. We recommend you always call your solicitors to obtain confirmation of the bank transfer.
It is important that you are aware of the increasing types of fraud and are able to take the appropriate steps where necessary to protect yourself and your property. For any help or extra information on how to protect your property, get in touch with us today.