The research has also revealed an increase in ID theft relating to mortgage applications. Historically, ID fraud accounted for around 4% of all mortgage application fraud, however this figure has risen to 6% for 2016 which is the highest it has been since 2012.
Identity theft continues to remain the most prevalent form of fraud across the board, with 56% of all fraudulent activities attributed to third party fraud.
Experian has also noted an increase in “impersonations of the deceased within mortgage fraud”, with these fraudsters using the identity of deceased individuals who had recently resided at the property.
Experian also noted that in many cases, fraudsters have either hacked databases or intercepted emails between individuals and their solicitors. Large payments have been diverted and fraudsters have disappeared with the money.
Greg Bryce, managing director of SearchFlow, property intelligence specialists, comments: “Experian’s latest Fraud Index brings our attention again to the extent of this problem for the conveyancing sector.
“Recognising the problem, and as part of our commitment to offering value added service, we have recently partnered with Decision First to offer an unrivalled free service to protect conveyancers and homebuyers from the risk of fraud.
“Using Decision First’s Law Firm Search via the Lender Exchange, conveyancers can now ensure it is safe to transfer their client’s money by checking and confirming the client account of the vendor’s solicitor on every single transaction at no additional cost.
“In addition, with regards to checking the identity of a seller, the most effective and safest way to ensure all the checks are carried out is by carrying out electronic AML checks.
We have partnered with GB Group, the global leaders in identity data intelligence solutions, to offer a fully integrated and detailed AML report which gives extensive and instant results.
GB Group utilises the most comprehensive suite of data sets that are updated daily and sourced from over 240 countries. Electronic AML checks can be purchased as a low cost report and offer vital protection, reassurance and time savings.”
Working on behalf of lenders to verify the details of law firms on their panels, Lender Exchange offers access to the largest set of verified conveyancing firms in England and Wales, equating to over 95% of the market.
Lender Exchange’s Law Firm Search offers the most comprehensive check on solicitor’s details in the market and will provide much needed protection against this area of risk.