Property Fraud by Heather Hilder on March 7, 2023 Stay ahead of the Fraudsters Property Fraud If you thought fraud was something that just happened to other people, read a little further. And then, start to take action to make sure it doesn’t happen to you! Stay ahead of the fraudsters. Almost 280,000 properties across the UK, with a combined market value of £82 billion, are occupied by fraudsters. Homeppl reported that 91% of the fraud that comes from rental applications stems from tenants attempting to disguise the true nature of their financial circumstances. According to statistics, one in 50 tenancy applications are fraudulent and that rises to one in 20 in London. With the demand for rental properties on the rise and competition to get that much sought-after flat or house increasing daily, the lengths to which some tenants will go to knows no bounds. Let’s analyse the most common instances of tenant fraud and tips to stop it. Fake ID A huge amount of the fraud starts here, with a stolen or fake ID. It has become something of a business to produce fake IDs, with one man making nearly £300,000 from the money he earned from it. Spotting the fakes requires some assertiveness on your part, cross-referencing all the details you have with external sources to make sure the driving licence/passport you have is genuine. If you’re still unsure, take a look at this website for more tips. Bank Statements It’s no secret that rents in London have gone up – the average weekly rent as of last September was a whopping £553. So, proving they can pay it is where fraudsters come into their own. Many of them use doctored or fake bank statements. Is the information on a PDF? Check to see if it has been altered. Has it been altered? Then that’s a clue that the statement may have been tampered with. Not sure? Ask the experts or go to a bank to make sure what you have is legitimate. References Ever wondered why there are so many domain names? Well, some of them belong to entirely fake businesses. These have been set up to provide the owner with a reference that only they can verify. There are several ways to check the veracity of the website – see how old it is. A recent website might suggest it’s been created for the purposes of providing such a reference. Be cautious, though, as there are plenty of new, legitimate websites. Payslips Creating a fraudulent payslip, exaggerating how much a tenant earns, is definitely one way of trying to prove you can pay the rent. More With more and more payslips now produced electronically, fraudsters are to create new versions of payslips but with slightly exaggerated figures to boost their perceived ability to pay. It’s easy enough to check whether the figure on the payslip is legitimate by contacting companies house. They can check to see whether the payslip exists and also whether the business that the client ‘works’ for exists. Here at Callaways Estate & Letting Agents, we do all we can to help you complete a smooth house sale or rental. We operate across the South Coast, including in Falmer, Worthing and Brighton & Hove, and have the experience and knowhow of the local area to help you set the right price and attract the best kind of buyers or tenants. For more info about how we help to reduce property fraud, please get in touch with us today. You can also get a free, instant online valuation of your home, to give you an idea of how much you could achieve in selling or renting it, by clicking here.