Big uptake in Land Registry's fraud protection alert service

Wednesday 7th December 2016

The Land Registry has revealed that more than 50,000 people have signed up to its free Property Alert service. 
The service, which was originally launched in 2014, allows people to detect fraudulent activity on their property by sending email alerts when new activity has been monitored, such as a mortgage being taken out against it. 
The recipient is then able to decide whether they think the activity is suspicious and act quickly and decisively if it is. The alert also tells people who to contact if they are concerned.
This greater interest in property fraud – and how people can go about protecting themselves from it – comes in the wake of a number of high-profile stories that involved homes being put up for sale without the owner's knowledge. The property most at risk of fraudulent activity is property that is either rented out, empty, mortgage free or unregistered with Land Registry. 
Property fraud usually occurs when fraudsters attempt to “steal” a home. Typically, this is done by stealing the homeowner's identity and then selling or mortgaging the property without them knowing about it. Since 2009, Land Registry says it has prevented fraud on properties worth more than £92m. 
“Property is usually our most valuable asset so it’s important to protect it from the ever-increasing risk of fraud,” Alasdair Lewis, Director of Legal Services, said.
“Land Registry is doing all it can to detect and prevent fraud but no system can be 100% fraud-proof, which is why we urge people to follow our advice about protecting themselves from property fraud, including signing up for Property Alert.”
The Property Alert enables people to monitor up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales, receiving email alerts whenever there is certain activity on the properties, for example an application to change the details of ownership. 
While the Property Alert isn't designed to stop the fraud from actually happening there and then, it acts as a useful early warning of potentially suspicious activity and enables the homeowner to take the appropriate steps to safeguard their property.  

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