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Property fraud

Many want to earn through property investments. Fraudsters persuade people to pay and register to attend seminars or educational programs that will explain how to make money through property sales. Some sellers offer superficial properties at a huge discount. 

Buyers may assume it to be a lucrative means to earn money, and they may invest their hard-earned money into such schemes assuming it to be a great offer. 

Some such scamsinvolve a group of people who target vulnerable properties and uninformed buyers searching for a house for rent or those who want to buy a home using basic identity proof. 

They start with a fake listing and use multiple sophisticated methods, which can be very complex to spot, but the victim finds themselves caught in a trap where they risk losing money. 

Most victims do not report such offences and are attacked continuously by fraudsters who may use sophisticated fake messaging systems that can be difficult to spot. As a result, one finds themselves under pressure to accept the offers. 

Some investment properties are offered at distant locations in either agricultural land or wrong places concerning future development. For example - there may be some restrictions where the planning permission may be refused later. 

There may be other variations like an offer to invest in buy to let, where the firm renovates and manages the properties pretending to offer huge returns through rental earnings. But in reality, the property may be non-existent; as a result, the investors lose their money. 

Are You a Victim of Property Fraud?

  • You get a brochure where you are offered deals to invest in a property and become a millionaire through rental or resale.

  • You get an invitation to a seminar where the organiser explains how to earn through property investment. 

What To Do If You Are A Victim?

  • You should ask questions and seek references from all the others who have taken the offers. 

  • Seek independent research on all the deals offered and seek expert guidance before giving away your money. Check the seller's history and previous schemes.

  • Carefully examine the site plan and the strategies. Check the legal aspects and state rules related to such purchases.

  • To know more, you can contact regulatory agents and report it to the authorities if you suspect fraud. 

  • You can contact the FSA and ensure all the paperwork and related transactions related to the educational material or courses or conversations with the dealers are recorded and have multiple copies. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • Always seek the advice of experts and try to find out about the firm offering the deal. One should invest only through registered and authorised organisations. Always call the numbers mentioned on the registered website to find out if the address and contact details match the one mentioned.

  • If you suspect a fraud, report it to the Land registry or speak to an expert. 

Other Types of Frauds –

Some cheats try to sell properties where the owner lives elsewhere and is unaware of the transactions. The scammers try to sell or rent and seek upfront payment to show the property without the owner's consent, or they may pretend to be the owner, or they do the transaction without informing the owner to defraud the client of the deposit money.

They try to acquire the property using a forged document to transfer into their name by impersonating the registered owner. 

How To Identify the Risk?

  • If your identity is stolen and you rent out your property but leave overseas.

  • If your house is empty and is not mortgaged or registered with the land registry office. 

How To Avoid a Loss?

  • Register the property with HM Land Registry. Scammers can easily defraud a victim when the land certificates are obsolete, while it happens even though the property tittles are published online.

  • Keep the details of the property updated and pay all the dues regularly. Some fraudsters try to contact the homeowners and request them to change their land registry details to extract their information. 

  • Sign up for authorised free Property Alert and fraud protection services.

  • In case you suspect a fraud, report it to the authorised agencies.

Date Published: Feb 01, 2022

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.
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