* Landlord Fraud costs £755 million a year 1
* 1 in 10 will lie to sell or rent out a property2
* 1 in five don’t trust a landlord when handing over money3
192.com has launched the first ever Background Reports on UK residents, offering protection against deception and fraud.
Background Reports draw on a vast amount of data to create an in-depth profile of an individual within seconds, including residential history, negative financial indicators, property ownership, company director information and much more.
The reports launch as nationally representative polls from 192.com show that:
* One in 10 have been conned by a landlord or lodger
* 45% have been conned, with 26% being deceived by a salesman or trader
* 1 in 10 will lie to sell or rent out a property
Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of 192.com said: “Background Reports offer protection from falsehoods and fraud. They will counter the lies told in when buying a home, renting accommodation, or when transacting with an unknown party.”
Address information in the Background Reports will show where someone lives, has lived previously, and who with. The residential listings also display neighbour’s contact details, and demographic profiles of neighbourhoods. Insolvency records and county court judgements in the Background Reports will reveal unpaid debts, and mortality data will help expose identities stolen from the deceased.
192.com’s background reports will counter a range of fraud, including rental fraud. Student Valentin Carrillo lost hundreds of pounds to a bogus landlord who extorted over £6000 in deposits for properties he didn’t own. The fraudster, operating under a fake name, duped lodgers with bogus keys or housed tenants in properties they would later be evicted from by the real owners. Fraudster Fazool Gajraj was later apprehended by Mr Carrillo and jailed for two years in Snaresbrook Crown Court4
Mr Carrillo said: “It’s easy to get drawn into a scam when you’re desperate for somewhere to live, and who really knows who their landlord actually is? Next time I would take even more care to background check someone I’m renting from.”
In October 2010, the YouGOV research estimated that 946,000 people have been the victim of rental scams equating to around 315,000 victims per annum.1
192.com’s poll2 also found that:
• One in five sometimes or often conceal their identity, with people from the North East of England twice as likely to do so.
• 12 have lied about where they live.
• 10% will lie to make money.
When asked who they would background check if they could, a quarter said they would do so when letting a property.
Richard Lambert CEO of the National Landlords Association has the following advice for tenants:
· Tenants should always visit the property with the landlord or letting agent before handing over a deposit.
· Where possible, tenants should pay a deposit using a credit card or via a direct debit to gain some protection from the banks – never hand over cash.
· Tenants should look for professional landlords who are members of a professional body such as the NLA.
· If using a letting agent, tenants should look for tenants who are members of a trade body such as The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
· UKALA members are required to have Client Money Protection in place which means that all monies given to the agent are insured.
· If the tenant is not sure about a letting agent, they should call trading standards before entering into any contracts.
192.com’s Background Reports are available for purchase through 192.com’s website and utilise data from leading official public sources including the Edited Electoral Roll, Companies House information, the Land Registry, the Insolvency Service and data from the Registry Trust.