Online rental fraud: scams create landlord nightmares


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Rental fraud is on the rise, fuelled by a highly competitive rental market and low cost, or free-to-list platforms for advertising property.

Research conducted by YouGov in 2013 estimated that over 1 million people had fallen victim to rental fraud, with at least a further 315,000 new victims each year, showing just how widespread the problem has become.

Reported incidents increased by 44 per cent from 2014 to 2015, from 2216 reported incidents in the year ending March 2014, to 3193 in the year ending March 2015.

However, it is likely that these figures underestimate the real scale of the problem – the Local Government Association claims that only 5 per cent of fraud incidents are reported.

Classified advertising sites have become breeding grounds for scammers to post fake or misleading adverts at little cost and with few security measures. It is estimated that bogus landlords are making £775 million per year through rental scams, with an average cost per victim of roughly £2400.

Now, the property classifieds site TheHouseShop.com has implemented a unique ownership verification process, using Land Registry databases, which, they say, combined with their numerous other security and safety checks, sets a new standard for security in the classified advertising space.

 

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