Over 500 contacts for Land Registry fraud line

Over 500 contacts for Land Registry fraud line

The Land Registry’s property fraud line has taken 505 calls and emails in its first six months of operation.

The property fraud line was launched on 5 February 2013 for owners to alert the Land Registry if they are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage.

The telephone number is 0300 006 7030 and the line is open from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

The Land Registry has provided a case study to show how the fraud line is helping:

Mr and Mrs P are the owners of a holiday cottage they rent out via a lettings agency. When visiting the cottage they found some correspondence relating to credit cards and other financial matters addressed to someone else using the cottage’s address. This person had rented it a few weeks previously. Also, the keys to the cottage were missing from the key safe at the property.

Mr and Mrs P contacted the police and Land Registry’s property fraud line. Although there was, as yet, no other suspicious activity concerning their Land Registry information, the fraud line team alerted Mr and Mrs P to the fact their contact address was out of date. This would mean that if Land Registry needed to contact them — perhaps to tell them there was a mortgage in the process of being taken out on their property — they would not receive Land Registry’s letter.

Mr and Mrs P were told how they could update their contact address, which they then did. In the circumstances, Mr and Mrs P were also told about another Land Registry fraud protection option: the form RQ restriction. Any owner who is not living at, and does not intend to live at, a particular property can apply for one of these free of charge. The RQ restriction is designed to help prevent forgery by requiring a conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person transferring or mortgaging the property is the same person as the owner. It provides an additional safeguard against forgery by operating as a deterrent. Mr and Mrs P applied for an RQ restriction and their property now has this additional protection in place.

Alasdair Lewis, Land Registry’s Property Fraud Unit, said: “The frauds we have helped to prevent have saved those concerned a lot of grief and potentially money. We’re glad to see that the property fraud line has proved successful in preventing bad situations from getting worse.”

Land Registry’s top tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters;

– Make sure your property is registered. If you become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer a financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated

– Once registered, ensure we have up-to-date contact details so we can reach you easily

– You can have up to three addresses in the register — at least one email address (strongly recommended) or an address abroad can be used

The more information you provide, the more chance we have of reaching you if we need to. More property fraud advice is available from  www.landregistry.gov.uk/propertyfraud

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