The service helps people to detect fraudulent activity on their property by sending them email alerts when there is certain activity on the property being monitored, such as a mortgage being taken out against it. The recipient can then decide whether they think the activity is suspicious and act quickly if so. The alert email tells them who to contact should they be concerned.
Alasdair Lewis, Director of Legal Services, said:
Property is usually our most valuable asset so it’s important to protect it from the ever-increasing risk of fraud. HM Land Registry is doing all it can to detect and prevent fraud but no system can be 100 per cent fraud-proof, which is why we urge people to follow our advice about protecting themselves from property fraud, including signing up for Property Alert.
Property fraud is where fraudsters try to “steal” a property, most commonly by stealing the homeowner’s identity and selling or mortgaging the property without their knowledge. They then disappear with the money leaving the true owner to deal with the consequences.
Since 2009, HM Land Registry has stopped fraud on properties worth more than £92 million.
How Property Alert works
You can monitor up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales. You will receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the properties you are monitoring, such as an application to change the ownership details.
Although Property Alert won’t automatically stop fraud from happening, it’s a useful early warning of suspicious activity which the home-owner can investigate if they are suspicious.
Find out more about Property Alert and how to sign up for the free service.
Example of how Property Alert helped to prevent a fraud
A landlord was renting out a property in England while he lived overseas. He was aware that absent landlords are more at risk of property fraud and signed up to our free Property Alert service. When he received an alert email informing him of a mortgage application being made against his property worth over £300,000, he contacted our property fraud line immediately as he wasn’t expecting this. Using this intelligence, we investigated and discovered the fraud. We then prevented the application from being registered. His contact details were out of date, so we advised him to update them, which he did so that if we need to contact him in the future he will receive our emails or letters.
Most at risk
You’re more at risk if your property:
- is rented out
- is empty
- is mortgage-free
- isn’t registered with HM Land Registry
Other fraud protection measures
To help protect yourself against property fraud, make sure:
- your property is registered. If you become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated. Properties most likely to be unregistered are those that haven’t changed hands or been mortgaged since 1990
- HM Land Registry has up-to-date contact details so we can reach you easily. You can have up to three addresses in the register including an email address and/or an address abroad
More property fraud advice is available and you can watch our video
Protect your property from fraud.
Notes to editors
- The Property Alert service was launched in March 2014. It won a Real IT award in May 2014 in the ‘Innovation in business’ category and a Civil Service award for Innovation in November 2014.
- HM Land Registry operates a property fraud line for anyone who thinks they may be the victim of property fraud. Call 0300 006 7030 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HM Land Registry’s dedicated counter fraud team works closely with the police and other agencies to help protect properties against property fraud.
- As a government department established in 1862, executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, HM Land Registry keeps and maintains the Land Register for England and Wales. The Land Register has been open to public inspection since 1990.
- With the largest transactional database of its kind detailing more than 24 million titles, HM Land Registry underpins the economy by safeguarding ownership of many billions of pounds worth of property.
- For more information about HM Land Registry, see www.gov.uk/land-registry and our blog.
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