I’ve worked in financial crime for the past seven years, beginning my career as a white collar crime litigator in a law firm. I know that the law evolves slowly, setting new precedents on a case-by-case basis, and cementing transactions.
Property fraud, meanwhile, is evolving fast. It is a growing issue for homebuyers and professionals alike, whether they are aware of it or not. And, in the 21st century, the legal process alone is not enough to make a property transaction secure.
We have seen several examples of how fraudsters can slip through the net, as in the recent case of Reverand Hall, who was working away from home when he discovered his house had been sold without his knowledge. Criminals were able to steal his identity using a driving license and bank account set up in his name.
I am now legal counsel for property and legal fintech Thirdfort – a firm reducing risk for property professionals during client transactions. I am very familiar with the processes that property firms must implement to protect themselves and their clients. The stakes for failing to do so are, frankly, too high.
As gatekeepers to the industry, property professionals have a key role to play in spotting and preventing fraud. But – with fraudsters becoming more and more sophisticated – it can be hard to keep up with the new tactics being deployed to hijack the house buying process.
While it may be tempting to bury our heads in the sand, we must do the opposite. It’s more important than ever to stay up to date with new developments. Knowledge is power: we need to know what we’re up against, and to follow important steps to protect against fraud. Innovative new technology is on hand to help too.
In what I’m sure will be an insightful and thought-provoking event next week, I will be joined by Detective Superintendent Gary Miles of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau; and Jessica Cath, Head of Financial Crime Project Delivery at FINTRAIL to discuss these very issues. Gary and Jessica’s combined experience brings decades of working in intelligence and fraud investigations, working with a range of institutions to implement systems that prevent financial crime.
In a one-hour live panel discussion (which takes place on December 8 2021 at 12.30pm GMT), we will explore how property crime is evolving as we head into 2022; explain new regulatory obligations and how to implement working practices that reduce businesses' vulnerability to attack.
So, are you fit to fight financial crime in property transactions? Register to attend our webinar - Home Truths: Financial Crime in the Property Transaction. A follow-up recording will also be made available.
*Sam Ruback is Head of Legal at property and legal fintech, Thirdfort, a specialist in AML and digital ID