Are estate agents facing a property fraud epidemic?

Recent figures from two leading government organisations suggest property crime is increasing. The Negotiator asks experts at the coal face to comment.

Land Registry data shows that the level of property fraud – which is when criminal attempt to sell homes that don’t belong to them – has doubled over the past 10 years and more than quadrupled in terms of value from £7 million to £25 million between 2013 and 2017.

And recent figures from fraud prevention service Cifas show that mortgage fraud by production of false documents increased by 14% in the first 6 months of 2019, while fraud by submitting altered documents rose by 32% or nearly one-third.

Two weeks ago we reported on a property fraud case that was said to have ‘struck at the heart of conveyancing’ because the fraudster involved had been able to easily dupe both the conveyancer and estate agent involved using a fake passport.

We asked two anti-money laundering companies, who are at the heart of the property industry’s attempts to fend off illegal activity, to give their view.

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