How to protect your property (and yourself) against fraud

Criminals are getting cleverer. Daylight robbery is much easier with modern communications and less face to face transactions.

Homeowners are increasingly targeted by fraudsters exploiting the combination of high prices, multiple home ownership and the regularity of online transactions. We regularly get email requests to act in sales where the facts don’t add up. Those requests go straight in the junk folder.

The fraudsters’ aim is often to steal the real owner’s identity and sell or mortgage the property, which they pretend belongs to them, to release capital which is never seen again.

Since 2009 The Land Registry, in conjunction with police and other government departments, has stopped property frauds worth more than £92m. But there will always be the one that got away. You can do more to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

Fraudsters target property ownership where the risks of detection are seen as lower, such as

  • Empty properties, for example where an owner lives abroad, has more than one property, is elderly and in residential care or has died
  • Rented properties
  • Unregistered properties
  • Mortgage-free properties, as no lender’s permission is needed to sell the property.

We conduct checks on clients to confirm their identity before we start any work. It is not enough to work out who owns the property and to have ID for that person. We must also be sure that our client IS that person and not someone who has stolen their ID, using a combination of online searches backed up with good old fashioned checks and common sense.

HM Land Registry gives these tips to reduce your risks:

  • Make sure your property is registered. The government will not compensate owners who are the victims of property fraud if their properties are unregistered. We can advise you on voluntary registration of your title.
  • Keep your details up to date with Land Registry so that they can contact you if needed. They can store three addresses on the register, including foreign and email addresses.
  • Sign up for their free Property Alert service. This allows you to receive alerts of activity for up to 10 registered properties.
  • Enter a restriction on your property, to require a solicitor or conveyancer to confirm they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner. It sounds silly but it gives an extra line of defence if the conveyancer dealing with the sale has to put their own name to their client’s ID.

If you think that any of the above may apply to you please speak to us. We will be happy to help you make your property more difficult for fraudsters to target.

You’re in safe hands

Trust our team of local experts to provide the best advice on a wide range of legal and financial issues whenever you’re facing a life change and need the best support.

0800 389 2939

Our team are available Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

Find Your BranchMEET THE TEAM

She'll be glad you planned ahead

Organising your finances today, while planning for the future can be a challenge. We’ll put the kettle on – and take the pressure off.


You'll know when it's time to talk

From making a will, to matters of business law our qualified solicitors can offer advice and guidance. Pop in for a chat or call us to make your free appointment.


Sign up for our newsletter

Your details

Signing up to our newsletter will place you on our weekly property guide, providing you with the latest properties for sale and industry news.
You can unsubscribe at any time. We value your privacy and will not share your details.

© Poole Townsend 2017 - 2022. All rights reserved.
Poole Townsend solicitors Ltd (Company no:10964550) is a company registered in England and Wales with its registered office at 69-75 Duke Street, Barrow in Furness, LA14 1RP. A list of directors is available at the registered office address. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 647087. We are independent financial advisers authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. VAT registration number :154365563.

Poole Townsend Estates Ltd. (Company No: 10960705) is a company registered in England and Wales with its registered office at 69-75 Duke Street, Barrow in Furness LA14 1RP. A list of directors is available at the registered office address. Regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers to provide Conveyancing services. (Firm no: 3438) VAT registration number 288092466. Our Estate Agency is a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme.

Poole Townsend Estates Ltd Property Client account has client money protection, to view our Client Money Protection Certificate please click here. To view our Equality and Diversity Data please click here. The Propertymark Conduct and Membership Rules can be found here.

Professional Indemnity Insurance – please contact Martin Oates at the address above if you require details of cover held.

Registered with the Information Commissioners Office for data protection purposes (ICO No: ZA494153 & ZA331395)


Book Your Free Valuation

Fill out the form below and we'll get in touch to arrange your free valuation.

Your Details

We value your privacy and will not share your details.