Home owners and buy-to-let landlords across the Midlands are being warned of a potential rise in fraud during the busy summer selling season.
The alert comes from property lawyer Javed Ahmed who said owners could find themselves conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by people who “clone” their identities and sell houses and flats out from under them.
Mr Ahmed, from Midlands law firm mfg Solicitors, is concerned there will be a rise in fraud over the summer – typically the busiest time for the property market – and said owners needed to act now to protect themselves.
The assistant solicitor said fraudsters operating across the region had been known to fool estate agents and lawyers by posing as the owner of property and then managing to take out loans or mortgage the building.
Mr Ahmed said: “Property is usually the most valuable asset people will own and it’s a hugely attractive target for fraudsters who want to sell it and pocket the money. It is something people think will never happen to them but it is a very real threat and people here in the Midlands must guard against it.
Those who are most at risk are people who rent out their property, or whose property is vacant.
It’s also an issue for those who own the property outright without a mortgage but one of the best steps is for owners to arrange a restriction on their title to prevent the Land Registry registering a sale without the identities being verified. It’s a process best taken care of by a professional to ensure every box is ticked.”