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Fraud is a type of crime that is ever-evolving due to the continued development in computers and the internet. In 2017 alone there were 3.2 million cases of fraud reported to the police and there are a number of scams involving buying, selling and renting a property which happens to regular people every day. To help you avoid becoming a victim of property fraud, we have put together a comprehensive guide to safeguarding yourself – and your property.
Property fraud rears its head in many different ways. Some criminals peddle ‘get rich quick’ investment schemes, whereas some steal the personal details of homeowners to sell or re-mortgage their property.
Property fraud can have long-lasting consequences for the innocent party. We outline some of the most common strategies criminals use below:
Whilst virtually anybody could become a victim of property fraud, there are certain people and properties that are more at risk from criminals:
Many of the scams being used by criminals to trick people are very convincing and it may be hard to distinguish if something out of the ordinary is occurring. In the case of identity theft, you will not know it has happened until it is too late. But, for investment and fund scams, you may be able to spot some tell-tale signs:
If you think you may have been the victim of property fraud you need to get in contact with Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. You can report fraud online to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040 any time of the day or night, they are available 24/7.
Alternatively, owners who are concerned about their property can call the Land Registry and speak to specially trained staff for guidance, by calling the Property Fraud Line on 0300 006 7030 Monday to Friday. The line is open from 8.30am to 5pm.
Whilst some people are simply unfortunate enough to be victims of property fraud, there are steps you can take to protect yourself as best as possible:
If you are looking to sell your house safely and fast, get in contact with our team to see how we can help you.