Part of my role as a Land Registry Guarantee & Litigation lawyer is to look at rectification and indemnity in respect of property fraud cases. This means that I see first-hand the dreadful impact that property fraud can have on the victim.
Since 2009 Land Registry has prevented frauds on properties valued in excess of £80 million. However, no system can be 100 per cent fraud-proof. That’s why I think it’s important to work together with our professional customers to widen the reach of our property fraud advice.
As our business customers, many of you have more direct contact with members of the public than we do and could help your clients by highlighting the range of advice we offer on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property fraud.
An easy way would be to link to the information on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/propertyfraud. For instance, we explain that by putting a restriction on their title, your clients can ensure we won’t register a sale or mortgage on their property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the identity of the person who has requested the transaction has been verified.
We also have a dedicated page about our free Property Alert service: www.gov.uk/property-alert. We know members of the public like the service from a recent survey we carried out. Some comments received included: “My home is my biggest asset. I want to keep it secure” and “It’s easy to set up, has worked well for me so far plus it gives me peace of mind”.
We’ve also made a three-minute video aimed at members of the public to explain what property fraud is, who is most at risk and what steps they can take.
Please feel free to add a link to the video to your website.
If you’d prefer to give your clients something tangible, we’ve produced a leaflet containing general property fraud advice, including how to sign up to Property Alert.
You may have already been told about this leaflet by your customer team and several firms have ordered a number to distribute to their clients. If you’d like some, please contact your customer team with your request.
If you don’t have a customer team, please email us stating how many leaflets you’d like and the address to send them to.
Many of you already carry links to our advice and have requested leaflets for your clients, for which thank you. If you have any ideas about how to promote property fraud advice more widely, please let us know.