Identity theft

A quick internet search of the word ‘fraud’ and you’ll be inundated with stories of how people or corporations have experienced a form of financial loss. This could be to physical property or through online means. Sometimes these activities can be through impersonation using identity theft or fraud. The rise of the internet for more transactions means there’s been a move from using traditional methods of fraud to using digital channels.

We’re already working on the development of our new digital services. This will see a shift from paper-based application forms to more online forms and digital signatures. Similar to what’s happening in the wider industry, a move to online service poses a new kind of threat. Currently, you might walk into a bank or building society and physically sign documents. The future will see us ‘signing’ documents online.

So how do we know that the person using that service is who they claim to be? GOV.UK Verify has started to address this. But it doesn’t stop there as there are many risks. Digital services need to think about how people will interact with their service and how these can be moderated. In fact, it’s even referenced in the Digital by default service standard in point 7.

Property Alert, one of our existing services could help protect your home from property fraud. By signing up to this free service you’ll be notified if someone applies to change the register of your property; such as take out a mortgage. You can decide if the activity is suspicious and alert us. You’re at greater risk of property fraud if the property is empty, mortgage-free or rented out. This service is just one of the ways we are helping to minimise the risk of fraud. Read more about what you can do to protect your home in Jess’ blog.

We have an ongoing responsibility to protect the integrity of the register and this is why our digital services will be designed to do this. Our idea is to make the user experience as good as possible for the majority of people and where we think there to be a risk, we perform the necessary checks to mitigate the risk. So if you’re ever asked for more information whilst using one of our services in the future or experience a delay in its processing, don’t be alarmed. Rest assured we are looking at industry best practice and sharing information and knowledge across government departments to make sure we’re in the best position to protect you, and your property.

Rob Viant
By Rob Viant,

Solution Architect at HM Land Registry