BTL landlords key target for fraud

Angela Faherty

June 10, 2006

Prospective BTL landlords are being urged to protect their credit report from new tenants in order to safeguard themselves against fraud. Findings from the UK Victims of Fraud data showed 48 per cent of identity fraud victims who knew the person that had used their identity, were landlords.

The report revealed landlords renting out property they had previously lived in were particularly at risk and showed a total of 41 per cent of cases of identity theft are previous address fraud. In some cases, fraudulent tenants had used the landlord’s name and the rented property’s address to apply for credit cards, loans and mail order goods. Tenants had also intercepted mail addressed to their landlord and used the details to open fraudulent credit accounts.

CreditExpert.co.uk also warned flatmates and people who shared mailboxes were also at risk from identity theft. It showed 24 per cent of people failed to re-direct mail when they moved home, making it easy for intercepted post to be used to open a credit account online or over the phone.

Commenting on the findings, Jim Hodgkins, managing director of CreditExpert.co.uk, said: “Purchasing BTL property is an increasingly popular investment. When considering this type of investment, people should be wary of the possibility of dishonest tenants taking advantage of your credit score report to incur debts in your name.”

Mark Alexander, managing director of The Money Centre, said: “

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing areas of crime in the UK and landlords are becoming the target of fraudsters. But there are measures landlords should take to protect themselves. Using a letting agent, obtaining thorough references and letting to someone you know and trust are all ways to protect against identity fraud.”

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