Latest Trend of Property Fraud
Be cautious in property transactions! Fraudsters misrepresent as property owners while victims suffer financial losses.
Latest Modus Operandi
Fraudsters use forged identity cards and pretend to be property owners to put properties on sale, alleging that the tenants of their properties refuse to let buyers view the properties, and succeed in deceiving estate agents, solicitors’ firms and buyers, etc. On the other hand, the fraudsters change their names into the names of the real property owners to open bank accounts. Afterwards, the fraudsters use the bank accounts to receive the buyers’ deposits, then become out of reach, making the buyers suffer losses.
Fraudsters choose to rent some properties without taking mortgage loans from banks in order to obtain the identity information of the owners. Then, forging the title deeds of the properties and pretending to be the owners, the fraudsters apply for mortgage loans from banks or property loan companies using forged identity documents. The fraudsters may use such tactics to further deceive other loan companies. After obtaining the loans, the fraudsters become out of reach. Later, the fraud cases are revealed when the real owners receive letters to recover loan repayments.
Crime Prevention Tips
Estate Agents, Solicitors’ Firms, Banks and Property Loan Companies
To guard against loss, estate agents, solicitors’ firms, banks and property loan companies should conduct due diligence checks on the actual status of property titles. If you are suspicious of the identities of the owners or the tenants, further checks on their identities should be conducted, such as asking them to present the public utilities payment receipts of the properties, or comparing the signatures on the title deeds, etc.
To avoid the properties being used as tools of deception, owners should beware of suspicious mails or incoming calls. If owners are in doubt of the identity of the tenants, they should check further. Property owners, especially those who are not residing in their own properties, should always check the status of their properties including on-site inspections, to avoid being used by fraudsters as the tools of deception.
Be vigilant when purchasing second hand properties. Try to conduct on-site inspections, and ensure your estate agents or solicitors’ firms to verify the identity of the property owners.
To avoid falling prey to scams, buyers should know more about fraudsters’ modus operandi. In case of doubt, report to the Police immediately.