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Conveyancing Fraud and Scams Awareness Month

by Raminder Uberoi — Posted on 12 July, 2017

Scams Awareness Month July 2017 and conveyancing fraud

A special month to teach consumers and property owners about conveyancing fraud and the skills to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting suspicious activities

Scams Awareness Month

Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services are leading activities throughout the month of July for Scams Awareness Month. The campaign is all about supporting partnerships nationally and locally to give consumers the skills and confidence to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting suspicious activity. As conveyancing solicitors, we are particularly concerned with protecting our clients and their properties. We recommend all clients to sign up to the Land Registry Property Alert scheme. This allows you to receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, allowing you to take action if necessary.

Protect your property

You’re at risk if:

  • your identity’s been stolen
  • you rent out your property
  • you live overseas
  • the property’s empty
  • the property isn’t mortgaged
  • the property isn’t registered with HM Land Registry

Your property will be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it since 1998. You can check the register if you’re unsure.

You must tell HM Land Registry if the information in the register is incorrect, for example, if you change your contact address.

You can track changes to the register or put a restriction on your title if you think you’re at risk.

Track changes to your property title at Land Registry

You can sign up to get property alerts with Land Registry if someone applies to change the register of your property, for example, if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage. Click here to sign up for Property Alerts from HM Land Registry.

This won’t automatically block any changes to the register but will alert you when something changes so that you can take action. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties – there’s no fee.

Protect yourself against scams

With so many people affected by scam attempts and fraud, it is important to be wary of unsolicited phone calls and emails that appear to be from a trusted company. You can also protect yourself using the following tips:

  • Register with services that block unsolicited phone calls. Providers such as BT have services that block unwanted phone calls, and free-to-download apps such as Truecaller work to block such calls. Many mobile phones now have the functionality to block repeated nuisance callers.
  • Never disclose secure information. Legitimate companies will never ask for information such as PIN codes or account details over the phone, so you should never disclose this kind of data if you can’t be sure the caller is genuine.
  • Check the email of the sender. Often a scam email might have an address that appears similar to a major company but will differ very slightly.
  • Be wary of typos. Emails from legitimate companies will very rarely have grammatical or spelling mistakes, and this can be a tell-tale sign of a fraudulent email.
  • Don’t disclose in email replies any secure details. Companies will never ask for payment details via email, so when paying for something online always make sure you are doing so through a secure checkout on a legitimate website.
  • Never install software prompted by an email. Operating system providers such as Microsoft or Apple will only ever update their operating software on your computer through the App Store or via Windows updates.

How Starck Uberoi can help

We welcome Scams Awareness Month as an engaging and effective way of protecting the public from unscrupulous behaviour. Our conveyancing department can help you sign up for the Land Registry Property Alert service or for more information or to book an appointment please call 020 8840 6640. We are based in Ealing; our office is located 10 minutes from Ealing Broadway Station.

About Raminder Uberoi

Raminder is head of the property department and his practice includes acquisitions, sales, financing, planning, development, landlord and tenant matters and corporate-related property transactions. He specialises in all aspects of commercial and residential property continually developing successful and practical client-focussed strategies. He draws on his wide experience to achieve tailor-made solutions for his clients’ commercial and financial needs.