By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
A typical UK house block.

Unraveling The Web of Title Fraud


September 25, 2023

Title fraud is a growing concern for property owners in England and Wales, especially in today's digital age where information can be easily manipulated and accessed by fraudsters. To perform this type of real estate fraud, scammers use false identities and forged documents to transfer ownership of a property without the owner's knowledge or consent. This can result in a devastating financial loss for property owners who may not even realize that they are victims of title fraud until it's too late. In this article, we will explore the various types of title fraud, how fraudsters operate, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself and your property from becoming a victim of this crime. We will provide you with practical tips and advice on what to look out for, and steps you can take to safeguard your property and your finances. So, buckle up and let's unravel the web of title fraud together. 

What is Title Fraud?

Title fraud is a type of property fraud that occurs when someone pretends to be the owner of a property and then sells, transfers or mortgages that property without the real owner's knowledge or consent.

In other words, title fraud is when someone steals the title to a property. This type of fraud can be carried out in several ways, such as by impersonating the owner, forging fake documents, or hacking into computer systems to gain access to confidential information.


Title fraud can have a devastating impact on property owners. Not only can it result in the loss of the property, but it can also lead to financial ruin, as the owner may be held responsible for the fraudulent transactions carried out in their name.


It can take years to clear up the mess left behind by title fraud, and in the meantime, the owner may be unable to sell or refinance their property, while fraudsters are nowhere to be found.


How Title Fraud Occurs

Title fraud can occur in several different ways. One common method is for a fraudster to impersonate the owner of a property and then sell or mortgage that property without the owner's knowledge or consent. This feat can be accomplished quite easily by creating fake identification documents, forging signatures, and preparing fake paperwork that seemingly transfer ownership or mortgage rights.


Another popular method is for scammers to hack into computer systems, thereby gaining access to confidential information about the property and its owner. Criminals will then use the sensible information they retrieved to create fake documents and carryout fraudulent transactions without being noticed.


Fraudsters can also use straw buyers to carry out title fraud. A straw buyer is someone who purchases a property on behalf of someone else. The fraudster will use a straw buyer to purchase the property and then transfer ownership to themselves or someone else without the real owner's knowledge or consent.


Signs of Title Fraud

It's important to be aware of the signs of title fraud so that you can act if you suspect to be a victim. If you notice any of these signs, you should take immediate action to investigate further.

Some of the signs of title fraud include:


·       Unfamiliar transactions on your property, such as mortgage applications or sales listings that you did not authorize.


·        Missing mail or bills related to your property.


·       Notices from your mortgage lender that your mortgage has been paid off.


·       Unexpected offers to purchase your property.


·       Notices from the government about changes to your property ownership.


Preventing Title Fraud - Tips for Homeowners

As a homeowner, becoming a victim of title fraud does not mean just losing your property, rather your daily life - and financial stability - along with it. Nonetheless, there are a few steps that homeowners can take to prevent title fraud from occurring:


1. Keep your personal information secure. Always protect your personal information, such as your social security number and driver's license number, from falling into the wrong hands.


2. Monitor your credit report. Remember to keep an eye on your credit report for any unusual activity, such as new accounts or loans that you did not authorize.


3. Be cautious of unsolicited offers. Be wary of unsolicited offers to purchase your property or to refinance your mortgage.


4. Check your property title regularly. Check your property title regularly for any unfamiliar transactions you may have missed.


Preventing Title Fraud - Tips for Landlords

Landlords might not be losing their private homes to fraudsters, yet they have a whole portfolio of properties to manage, thus being exceptionally vulnerable to title frauds and identity impersonation. As a landlord, you can also take steps to prevent title fraud against your portfolio:


1. Verify the identity of tenants. Verify the identity of your tenants by checking their identification documents and conducting in-depth background checks.


2. Use secure technology. Use secure technology to store and transmit confidential information about your properties.


3. Be always vigilant.Be wary of any signs of title fraud and report any suspicious activity to the authorities as soon as you notice.


4. Educate your tenants. Educate your tenants about the risks of title fraud and the steps they can take to protect themselves, as title fraud also has an impact on them.


Title Fraud Cases and Their Consequences

Title fraud can have a devastating impact on property owners. In one case, a clergyman in Luton lost his home to title fraud in the blink of an eye. The scammer had used forged documents to transfer ownership of his house to himself and then sold the property without his knowledge. The man was left devastated with little recourse or direction on where to turn next.


In another case, a woman from West London fell victim to title fraud when fraudsters duped her into buying a house worth more than 1 million pounds, which then turned out to belong to a couple who had no knowledge of the sale. By the time the Land Registry declined to register the transaction, scammers were gone with the money and nowhere to be found, leaving the buyer out of pocket.


These cases highlight the frightening consequences that title fraud can have on property owners. Unfortunately, stories like these happen every day: this is why it is essential that property owners take steps to protect themselves against title fraud and identity impersonation.


Reporting Title Fraud

If you suspect to be a victim of title fraud, you should report it to the authorities immediately.

Contact your local law enforcement agency, as well as your mortgage lender. They can provide you with some guidance on how to proceed.


How Title Guardian Can Protect You

Title fraud has been on the rise for years as the world became more and more digitalised. Today, it represents a threat to national security in the UK.


Fraudsters have at their disposal a wide variety of methods to steal the title to a property and then sell or mortgage it without the owner's knowledge, let alone their consent. It's essential for property owners to take substantial steps and protect themselves against this type of fraud, such as monitoring their credit report and checking their property title regularly.

In case your properties are targeted by fraudsters, you will not be covered by any insurance policy.

If you truly want to prevent title fraud, avoiding any risk of financial loss, subscribing to the Title Guardian digital platform represents the ideal solution.


Title Guardian offers complete protection against title fraud and identity impersonation: the official app is equipped with ultimate anti-fraud property and identity-monitoring tools to always know whatever is going on with your properties – and the service can cover one or thousands of properties, which is an ideal solution for landlords.


Every day, Title Guardian will monitor your property address, checking a combination of online and offline sources to identify if your property is being listed for sale, rent, mortgaged by a lender, registered against a company, or if there is any application lodged with HM Land Registry to change your Title Register.

We will also monitor your address and identity for any activity at Companies House, preventing fraudsters from using your details for their criminal gain.

If any of these activities is identified, an alert will arrive directly to your phone by push notification, SMS and email, stopping fraudsters before they can manage to scam you or steal your properties.  

If you think it is time to secure your properties for good, explore our membership plans or just schedule a call with us: we’ll be ready to welcome you to the future of home protection.  


Protect your property