HOME IDENTITY FRAUD PROTECTION
An identity fraud victim has been left "scared" and "terrified" after he discovered his £500,000 home had been listed for sale on a popular property website. The victim had utility bills stolen from his mailbox and his signature was forged in order to transfer the deeds of his house. The falsified documents were then used to auction the home which was advertised on Rightmove.
The Land Registry are now being called upon to carry out tougher security checks as the victim believes he was targeted because he owns his own home. Homeowners who have paid off their mortgages are more susceptible to scams of this nature as no additional authority is needed by the lender to confirm the change of ownership.
Homeowners are more at risk if:
- their identity has been stolen
- they rent out their properties
- they live overseas
- the property is empty
- the property isn’t registered with Land Registry
The Land Registry offer a free Property Alert Service which more than 50,000 people have now signed up to. The service helps people to detect fraudulent activity on their property, notifying homeowners if the register of their home or land is changed.
Restrictions can also be applied to title deeds where a sale or mortgage can only be processed if a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by the homeowner.
Scam and rogue trader complaints should be reported to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.