Property Fraud on the increase

With advances in technology fraud is on the increase with 3.5 million recorded cases reported in 2016 alone. It is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK and property transactions are seen as a particularly attractive target by criminals.

It is estimated that there are around 1 million unregistered residential properties in the UK. These are particularly vulnerable to fraud as there is no entry of the property at the Land Registry and ownership is evidenced by paper deeds. Unregistered properties are also not covered by the Land Registry’s Title Guarantee and Indemnity Insurance. If they were victim to fraud there is little or no protection for the actual owner. It is therefore in your best interest to voluntarily register your property if you are the owner of unregistered property.

Another risk area is when conveyancers are impersonated and clients sent false emails instructing them to send funds to a fraudster’s account instead of the Solicitor. Fraudsters will send fake letterheads or create false email addresses with only slight changes between the fake and the genuine email. To prevent this we at Garside & Hoy send sensitive documents requiring passwords and we will never send change of bank details by email.

Clients should also be aware of how you are accessing personal emails regarding your conveyancing transaction, as can be seen by the case of a victim who was scammed while using a Coffee shop Wifi and lost their £60,000 deposit(1).

We at Garside & Hoy work to remain vigilant and adapt our working practices to protect our clients from potential sources of fraud and remind our clients to do the same. If you do have any queries or receive any suspicious emails or correspondence claiming to be us please call our offices to confirm and also advise us so we know to report to the appropriate organisation.

At Garside & Hoy we offer fixed fees for conveyancing and would be happy to provide you with a written quotation.