Fraud is now the most prevalent crime in the United Kingdom. The annual Government Counter Fraud Awards recognise exceptional achievement and innovation in fighting fraud in the public sector. Entrants included counter fraud teams and individuals from across the UK public sector, including those working in local government and central government agencies and departments.
Our award was for the work we have done in raising awareness of how property fraud can occur, who is most at risk and what people can do to protect themselves. The awareness campaign focused on our free Property Alert service, encouraging people to sign up so they can receive an early warning of fraudulent activity on their property.
With minimal direct contact with citizens itself, HM Land Registry relies heavily on business customers such as conveyancers and estate agents to encourage their clients to sign up for Property Alert and read our fraud advice. In addition to making the public more aware of property fraud and how to protect themselves, our counter fraud team provides training to employees, law enforcement agencies and financial investigators in how to detect and prevent registered title fraud.
The judges said:
Property fraud is an area of significant risk and the campaign left no stone unturned in its efforts to raise awareness and engage citizens with its Property Alert service. They were astute in selecting the most effective, audience-appropriate channels and received justifiably very positive feedback for their efforts.
As a result of the increased numbers of people signing up to Property Alert in 2016/17, 100,000 more properties are better protected against fraud – an estimated £20 billion worth of property assets based on the average house price of £200,000.