The Land Registry and the Law Society have joined forces to publish new advice to help conveyancing solicitors identify and eliminate the threat of property fraud.
Property transactions have always been a target for fraudsters because of the high values involved and the potential for huge financial gain. While there is already a wide range of existing resources available to property professionals to outwit scams, the new advice provides greater detail of the techniques criminals employ to defraud solicitors.
Case studies demonstrate the methods used recently and provides solicitors with more information on how they can carry out checks to stop the swindlers in their tracks.
Graham Farrant, chief executive of the Land Registry and chief land registrar, said: "As well as financial loss, a fraudulent property transaction also creates emotional distress for home owners and prospective buyers. Our priority is to ensure the integrity of the Land Register by preventing fraudulent registrations."
Instances of fraud are rare
Fraud and particularly cyber fraud is one of the UK's fastest-growing crimes, with 3.5 million cases in 2016 alone, according to the Office for National Statistics. Last year more than £7 million was lost in what the property industry calls "Friday afternoon fraud", so-called because that is the most popular day to complete sales transactions and it gives fraudsters a few days' grace before the victims realised they've been duped.
Law Society president Joe Egan said: "While successful instances of fraud against solicitors are rare, the whole profession must maintain constant vigilance against those who try to defraud them. Solicitors have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their clients from fraud.
"While it can seem a burden, it is part of the extra value our clients know they get when dealing with a solicitor."
Guarantees on risk mitigation
All solicitors who are part of Fridaysmove's nationwide panel are regulated by Solicitors Regulatory Authority, which is formally an arm of the Law Society. All solicitors on the panel also carry the coveted Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation awarded by the Law Society that offers guarantees on compliance and risk mitigation.
Call Fridaysmove on 0800 038 6446 now for a no-obligation quote or find out more about our no-move, no-fee guarantee that means you won't be out of pocket if your transaction fails to complete for any reason.