fraud

05 May 23

A risk management platform claims landlords are amongst those most at risk of fraud.

Thirdfort has identified the top eight types of property most at risk from property fraud. Two of them involve landlords.

The first type is that owned by absentee landlords. “Absent landlords make it easier for fraudsters to obtain the post and impersonate the landlords without their knowledge” claims Thirdfort.

The second type is the more general rented property. “A tenant may be able to impersonate the owner. They have access to the property and can obtain identification at the address.”

The other six higher risk property types are those with long-established owners with ‘easy to obtain’ ID; mortgage-free properties which have fewer ownership criteria to fulfil than those with outstanding mortgages; those homes with no registered title; properties owned by individual staying long-term in care homes and hospitals; those properties with deceased owners; and those properties that are on the market when fraudsters can post as potential buyers to collect information. 

Thirdfort claims property fraud and the use of fake ID documents are on the rise. 

It says: “Criminals will stop at nothing to bypass controls and use many methods to engage in fraud. These include obtaining fake IDs and falsifying documents so their name matches a property owner’s name, and illegally obtaining genuine documents to open a bank account.

“Property firms such as conveyancers and estate agents often rely on their staff to manually verify identity documents to complete Know Your Client and Anti-Money Laundering checks, increasing the risk of human error that they may unknowingly enable fraud and money laundering.”

Harriet Holmes of Thirdfort says: “While firms may see individual lawyers and agents as a risk, they are also the best line of defence. Property firms should regularly update staff training on the risk around identifying fraud and the red flags of which they should be aware. It is also worth becoming familiar with government guidance on how to examine ID documents.

“Alongside such training, modern digital verification tools can also help reduce the burden on staff when checking and verifying ID documents. With the right technology, documents can be identified as fraudulent in minutes, giving lawyers and agents time to focus on the red flags that may be more difficult for technology to spot.”

Link to original article

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