A property fraud line launched by the Land Registry lets owners who are concerned that their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage, report it [11 February 2013]
Properties that are most vulnerable to registration or mortgage fraud are usually empty, tenanted or mortgage-free.
Property fraud can happen in many ways. Fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property either by using a forged document to transfer it into their own name, or by impersonating the registered owner.
Once they have raised money by mortgaging the property without the owner’s knowledge, they disappear without making repayments leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
Individuals at a higher risk of fraud include owners living abroad; buy to let landlords and long term hospital patients. The telephone number is 0300 006 7030 where callers can report and speak to specially trained staff for practical guidance about what to do next. Or alternatively for customers who wish to contact Land Registry outside business hours an online form is available.
Land Registry's top tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters:
• Make sure your property is registered. If you become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer a financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated.
• Once registered, have up-to-date contact details so that they can reach you easily.
• You can have up to three addresses on the register, email addresses or an address abroad can be used. The more information you provide to the Land Registry, the more chance they have of reaching you.