Property Title Fraud Rising Rapidly
Could someone steal your house without you knowing? Property title fraud is rising rapidly, fraudsters using identify theft are increasingly using methods to transfer property titles to other parties or sell and keep the proceeds of sale.
Nicola Pugh, Partner and Head of Conveyancing at PCB Solicitors warns home owners to be aware. Nicola said: ‘Police are reporting a worrying rise in the number of property thefts resulting from stolen ID and fake bank accounts being set up by fraudsters. A person can impersonate the genuine owner, sell the property, often to an innocent buyer, and pocket the proceeds of sale. Empty and tenanted properties are the most likely to be targeted.’
Between April 2017 to 2022 property title fraud accounted for around £25 million worth of property misappropriated by different methods. The amount has more than trebled in the space of five years.
If a criminal manages to transfer a property into their own name and refuses to transfer it back, the case may need be resolved by the Land Tribunal, which can be a long and expensive process. However, PCB Solicitors would recommend contacting the Police in the first instance to report a fraud.
To prevent a transfer occurring Nicola Pugh recommends the following action:
- Make sure your property ownership is registered with H M Land Registry with the correct name address and contact details.
- Place a “Property Alert” on the register. A property alert is free of charge if you register yourself and will alert you to any applications that are received against your property.
- Also if you are involved in the sale or purchase of a property, never accept bank details sent by email, always telephone to confirm the details separately.
If you need further information or assistance then you can contact our expert property lawyers by calling 01743 248148, who will be happy to discuss matters with you and arrange a convenient appointment at any of our offices.
PCB Solicitors LLP is a modern partnership, with offices across Shropshire and Mid Wales in Shrewsbury, Telford, Church Stretton, Knighton, Ludlow, Bishops Castle, Clun and Welshpool.