A new product has launched that protects homeowners from the growing threat of property-related frauds.
Title Guardian is an app that monitors digital sources such as property portals and government databases including HM Land Registry and Companies House, where an owner’s details appear and where property fraud commences.
If suspicious activity is detected, the homeowner receives instant alerts via SMS, email and app notification so any potential fraud threat can be stopped.
This aims to address issues such as title fraud or homeowners having their addressed used to setup fraudulent companies.
Law firms, estate agents and mortgage lenders can embed Title Guardian into their own offerings – providing protection both for their clients, and themselves.
The app is available to all homeowners and landlords in England and Wales, with the desktop version online from January 2024. A home can be protected on an annual subscription for £49.99 a year.
Previously, the only alternative protection against title fraud has been to sign up to the Land Registry’s property alert service, which sends an email to a property owner if someone applies to change the register of a property. However, by this stage, the fraud has often already been successfully executed, before this retrospective alert reaches a homeowner.
John Daw, chief executive of Title Guardian, said: “Today marks an important development for property owners – and the industry as a whole” comments “It’s widely known that the industry’s processes require significant modernisation and digitisation. One key area requiring action is to address how unsecure the property market is.”
“The availability of homeowner data on the government’s open register naturally creates risks, as that data can be sold to anyone, including those with criminal intent. Government organisations like Companies House and the DVLA can also unintentionally assist frauds, where checks on activities are not robust. So, after a successful beta phase, we’re pleased we can now bring this important technology to market, to provide much needed protection against these threats”.
Stuart Forsdike, founder of property law firm PCS Legal and advisor to Title Guardian, added: “Title Guardian provides a new-level of protection for property owners.
“At PCS Legal, we’ve been an early adopter and the technology has proved its worth quickly – two clients have been alerted to potential fraud threats already.
“It helps reduce our own risks of potential claims relating to frauds and, most importantly, adds extra value to our clients. It’s easy to set up and the Title Guardian team have supported a seamless rollout to many clients. I think every law firm needs to be drawing their clients’ attention to the potential risks of property fraud and recommending they take action to protect themselves.”