A good piece of advice developed jointly by the UK’s Land Registry and the Law Society has been published, in order to assist solicitors identify and subsequently avoid any threats of property fraud.
This handy advice focuses on the risk around property and registration fraud, supplementing a range of existing materials, training and updates provided by organisations to combat fraud and scams.
Graham Farrant, Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar, noted that property is an attractive target for would-be criminals, supply due to its high value.
Farrant observed: ‘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.’
The advice highlights a number of emerging fraud threats, outlining the way that criminals are trying to defraud conveyancing solicitors. In addition, there are case studies to show potential warning signs of land fraud. What’s more, a number of resources are available to solicitors in order for them to carry out checks needed to prevent fraud.
Law Society President Joe Egan, also noted: ‘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.’
Mr Farrant went on to point out that fraud is becoming an increasingly significant issue and is the most commonly experienced crime in the UK. There were 3.5million cases reported in the Office for National Statistics crime survey last year.
Concluding, Mr Farrant said: ‘We need to continue to work closely with conveyancing solicitors to ensure the necessary checks and safeguards are in place to beat the fraudsters. This joint practice note will assist all parties involved in the house buying process to effectively tackle fraud.’