Beyond Reasonable Doubt

 Scenarios - Conveyancing

Land and buildings are usually the most valuable assets people own. Property can be sold and mortgaged to raise money which makes it an attractive target for fraudsters. The purchase of property assets has also become a desirable way to launder funds and transform such funds into legitimate assets.  In the UK, like many Land Registries, HM Land Registry, Lending Institutions, Law Firms and Conveyancers engaged in the transfer of property ownership  have procedures in place to safeguard against fraud. Fundamental to this is confirmation of genuine identity for certain types of high-value transactions and applications – assured identities are critical to prevent property registration fraud. The integrity of a property register as a trusted source of property ownership is fundamental to its function.

Property fraud is most common on the seller-side of property transfers of ownerships. If identity theft, impersonation or plagiarism of the owner of property (title) occurs this can enable a fraudulent sale or a fraudulent charge / mortgage being raised against the property without the knowledge of the true genuine owner. It is critical that genuine identity is verified before property transactions take place and, conveyancers lodging applications for property registration should provide evidence of this. Unravelling fraudulent property transactions is lengthy and complex not to mention the distress.

Many Land Registries have embarked on digital transformation programmes aimed at reducing transaction cycle times and achieve earlier transaction completion dates. Lending Institutions, Law Firms and Conveyancers participate in new online Land Registry business processes that were traditionally internal-only to a Land Registry. However, there is understandable concern about deploying high-value transactions online without a robust and reliable means that assures genuine identity is verified – this underpins successful digital transformations.

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