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Research reveals the regions at higher risk of property fraud

New research from client compliance platform Thirdfort reveals that the East Midlands, North East, North West and Scotland are the regions of the United Kingdom that may be at higher risk of property fraud.

Fraud and fake identity documents are on the rise. Criminals will stop at nothing to bypass controls and use many methods to engage in fraud. These include obtaining fake IDs, changing their name to a property owner’s name, and illegally obtaining genuine documents to open a bank account.

Harriet Holmes, AML service manager at Thirdfort, said: “Mortgage-free properties are one of the types of properties most at risk of property fraud because there are often fewer checks and hoops to jump through, so criminals see them as easier targets. As a result, conveyancers and estate agents need to be especially vigilant in those regions of the country where more people own homes outright.”

Region  % of homes owned outright
East Midlands 36%
North East 36%
North West 36%
Scotland 36%
West Midlands 35%
Wales 34%
East of England 32%
South East 32%
South West 31%
Yorkshire and the Humber 30%
Northern Ireland 26%
London 25%

Harriet Holmes concluded: “Property firms should regularly update staff training on the risk around identifying fraud and the red flags of which they should be aware, especially in those areas where more people are likely to own their homes outright. Alongside such training, digital verification tools can help reduce the burden on staff when verifying ID documents. With the right technology, documents can be identified as fraudulent in minutes, giving professionals time to focus on other red flags and ensure they reduce the risk of fraud.”

Thirdfort facilitates KYC, AML and Source of Funds verification using AI, biometric verification, and Open Banking. It has transformed a cumbersome process that traditionally took weeks into one that takes just minutes.

The client compliance platform has verified more than 1m people on behalf of more than 1,000 conveyancers, lawyers, estate agents and other regulated professional services firms. This number accounts for around 2.5% of all adult smartphone users in the UK.

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