Fraudsters stole my house!
Posted Thursday 11 July 2019 - 17:56pm by Trust Audit
Householders are being warned about a scam that fraudsters are using to steal people's identity - and even their homes.
A woman returned home from a three-week holiday to find her letterbox had been "taped up" - and a mailbox attached to her front door. Thieves had been intercepting her mail and used it to steal her identity.
The woman reported the incident to the police but didn't think much more of it - until the Land Registry contacted her to say her home now belonged to somebody else.
"The letter was entitled ‘Completion of Registration’ and went on to state that the property now belonged to a stranger." A solicitor in Tooting had verified another woman as her when she went to transfer the property.
The Land Registry viewed the issue as a ‘civil matter’ rather than fraud and said that the ‘current registered proprietor’ (the fraudster), would need to be asked if she objected to the real owner’s name being put back on the register.
The fraudster offered no objection, so the house was put back into the proper owner’s name.
How you can avoid being scammed:
1) Make sure your letterbox, or the place where your mail is left for you, is secure and cannot be accessed by anyone else. Report any damage to your landlord or letting agent immediately.
2) Don’t leave mail uncollected for long periods of time – pick it up as regularly as possible.
3) If you are changing your address make sure you tell your bank, card issuer and other important organisations that you deal with immediately.
4) If you are not going to be able to pick up your mail for a few days, ensure that someone trustworthy can collect it instead, or consider using a mail collection service.
5) Know the dates you are due to receive bills and bank statements, and where possible receive these documents electronically.
6) If your bank offers the option, consider picking up new cards or chequebooks in person.
7) If moving to a new house, use a mail redirection service.
8) If you suspect your mail has been stolen, contact the sender immediately and Royal Mail.