Two cases where genuine purchasers bought properties through estate agents from fraudulent vendors have now had judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal.
A couple in the process of buying a house fear they could be left homeless over Christmas after being tricked into transferring almost £60,000 to fraudsters posing as their conveyancing solicitor.
Victims of a land investment scam are to receive almost £2.2m in compensation after money was clawed back by the City watchdog from the eight men who were convicted of the fraud following one of the biggest investigations by the regulator.
Scammers have been using the Rightmove brand to dupe tenants out of rental deposits.
Property listing website The House Shop says it has seen ‘multiple’ incidents in recent months of fake landlords advertising cheap rents and then sending potential tenants an email from “Rightmove Tenant Verification”.
The email contains a link that looks like a Rightmove web page using the portal’s branding but applicants are invited to pay a deposit that gets sent to the scammer’s bank account held in the name of “Rightmove Plc”.
The total number of evictions last year reached a record high of 42,728 according to data from the Ministry of Justice.
Whilst overall possession claims fell during the year to 148,043, the number of accelerated possession cases continued their upward trend reaching 37,663 in 2015, up 4.5 per cent on the previous year and up 10.5 per cent on 2013.
Now Paul Shamplina, founder of specialist eviction service Landlord Action, says the rise in evictions and use of Section 21 accelerated possession procedures is a stark insight into the severity of the UK’s housing shortage.
New laws that aim to stop the UK being a magnet for money launderers – by forcing the owners of properties to reveal their identities – should be applied retrospectively, leading anti-corruption organisations whose work has strongly influenced the government are saying.
Transparency International and Global Witness say only tough new anti-laundering measures will help the UK to clean up its act. The organisations’ revelation that large chunks of London’s prime properties are now owned by trusts in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands prompted David Cameron to warn that the UK “must not become a safe haven for corrupt money from around the world”.
The UK’s Land Registry’s fraud line has helped thousands to protect their home ownership against property fraudsters in its first three years.
Nearly 3,000 calls and emails have been received as people become more aware of the risk of someone stealing their identity in order to sell or take out a mortgage on their home before disappearing with the money.
‘Since we launched our property fraud line property owners have become more aware of the risk. We urge home owners to follow our advice to reduce their risk of falling victim to property fraud,’ said Alasdair Lewis, director of Legal Services at the Land Registry.
With an increase in the number of property scams, the Land Registry yesterday warned that bogus emails are being sent out in its name.
These emails look to be a phishing exercise.
The emails read: “The document attached is an official requisition, reminder or letter from Land Registry. It is not a circular and relates either to an application you have lodged with us or a property in which you have an interest. No paper copy of the item of correspondence will be sent to you.
Dozens of homebuyers are being conned out of thousands of pounds every year by fraudsters who steal online payments meant to go via solicitors.
Agents are warned to be on their guard against an identity fraud sting by which criminals successfully collect cash for sales of homes that the crooks never owned.
There have been “many” cases investigated in London in the past few months, with the Metropolitan Police reporting four.
The UK taxman has collected £301.8 million in unpaid property tax due to what is described as an aggressive clampdown on stamp duty avoidance.
HMRC’s new Counter Avoidance Directorate collected the amount in the last year as part of a policy to crackdown on Stamp Duty and Land Tax (SDLT) avoidance schemes.
A warning has gone out to property industry professionals in the UK to make sure they carry out correct Stamp Duty returns after a conveyancer was jailed for stealing money paid by his clients.
Anthony Maragh, 57, from Harrow in London, consistently undervalued his clients’ properties so that less stamp duty land tax was paid to Revenue and Customs (HMRC) while he kept the difference.
Land Registry is launching a new service called Property Alert aimed at anyone who thinks their property could be at risk of fraud.
Property fraud can happen in many ways. For example, fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by using forged documents, or by impersonating the registered owner. The fraudsters may then raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner's knowledge before disappearing without making repayments, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
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