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Another way your house can be stolen

(42 Posts)
CarlyD7 Wed 01-Dec-21 15:14:54

A follow up to the horrible news in November that a man's house was sold by a fraudster posing as him and he can't reclaim it! Now, today (BBC R4 You and Yours) there's yet another story of a stranger posing as a relative of an elderly person, gaining Lasting Power of Attourney, taking over their finances and attempt to sell their home! And - wait for it - the Office of the Public Guardian (who grant LPAs) check to make sure that the forms are filled in properly but do NOT have a fraud department nor any way of picking up fraudulent applications!! So there is no-one to check on the identity of those who submit applications or those who have signed as witnesses. Is this yet another example of making it easier (and cheaper) to put a government service online, and not having the necessary safeguards (just as was exposed in the first story - in that case, it was the Land Registry and the DVLA)? It's a home owners nightmare.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Wed 01-Dec-21 15:20:36

There seems to be no end to the evil and imaginative ways in which wrong 'uns will commit a crime. If they used their brain cells in a lawful way they'd be pillars of industry, wouldn't they?

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 16:09:41

I really don’t know what you think the OPG can do to detect forged signatures.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 16:12:56

Btw when an application to register a LPA is made to the OPG they do write to the person who has given the LPA to inform them that the application has been made so any fraud also has to extend to intercepting such letters.

grannyrebel7 Wed 01-Dec-21 16:19:52

Is there anything you can sign up to to prevent this happening? It's just awful.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 16:37:51

Not that I know of. The best way of preventing this sort of fraud is surely to grant a LPA to a trusted relation or friend and to get it registered straight away. If someone else should subsequently try to forge a LPA in your name it should hopefully be picked up at that stage. There is a fee to pay for registration but as the LPA can’t be used until it’s been registered, and registration can take a while, it’s a good idea to get it done before it’s needed anyway. The requirement for registration is relatively new and does operate as a safeguard.
Something else you could do, if you own the freehold or long lease of your property and the title is registered at the Land Registry, is to have a notice registered against the title ensuring you get notice of any attempted dealings with the title. A solicitor could arrange this quite cheaply.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 16:39:27

Sorry I should have added that such a notice can also be registered if the title isn’t yet registered.

Hetty58 Wed 01-Dec-21 17:15:09

Germanshepherdsmum, it only takes five minutes to register for a property alert account (on the Land Registry website). It's an award winning free property monitoring service, for fraud prevention.

You will then be notified of any search activity for the properties 'on watch'. You don't have to be the owner, either, as I put my son's rental property on, along with mine.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 18:22:23

Quite, hetty but not everyone can manage this on their own. Many older people have no computer facilities, nor anyone to help them.

Sago Wed 01-Dec-21 18:49:59

I had to apply for deputy ship over my mothers affairs.
The reams of forms are incredibly complex, I had to have witness statements from a social worker and a solicitor.
The OPG were thorough.

Grantanow Thu 02-Dec-21 10:56:12

Lasting Power of Attorney is a very desirable tool in managing the affairs of someone who has lost mental capacity and though there is a fee it's a lot cheaper than having to go to the Court of Protection. We should not be put off using the tool.

Elvis58 Thu 02-Dec-21 11:41:55

I registered with land property website search flags up any searches on your property you have not sanctioned.

Silvertwigs Thu 02-Dec-21 11:52:15

@ Germanshepherdsmum So they just get away with it do they? Could even be a staff member in the gov depts? I can think of a few things to safe guard, DNA, retinal recognition, finger prints etc.

Frogs Thu 02-Dec-21 11:59:16


I registered with land property website search flags up any searches on your property you have not sanctioned.

I did the same Elvis58 - my solicitor suggested we did this after our move 3 years ago.

4allweknow Thu 02-Dec-21 12:33:48

Surely with any POA the dicuments have to be witnessed by a person who can verify you are of sound mind to approve the legality of the documents. There are limited professions who are accepted as being able to do this eg GP, Solicitor, Minister of Religion and ctheir details must be provided to the registering body. Horrendous if any name and address is accepted.

CarlyD7 Thu 02-Dec-21 12:40:01

If anyone would like to listen to the programme - which flags up why the systems don't work to protect vulnerable people - this is the link. The item on "lasting power of attourney fraud" is the first one:

MerylStreep Thu 02-Dec-21 12:41:39

There were witness signatures. One of the witnesses was a neighbour of the victim.
We listened to the Radio 4 team knocking on the door of said witness , he knew nothing about it.
Non of the witnesses could be tracked.

nahsma Thu 02-Dec-21 13:27:28

You can sign up for Land Registry alerts on your property here:

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Dec-21 14:03:40

Yes nahsma but it doesn’t help if the title to your property isn’t registered, as is often the case with older people who have lived in their home for many years. There is a way to receive notifications in such a case which involves registering a ‘caution against first registration’ at the LR.

silvertwigs I don’t see how your suggestions could possibly work in practice. It’s not like presenting yourself in person at border control, who have all the equipment for identification.

rowyn Thu 02-Dec-21 14:24:44

Thanks, Germanshepherdsmum and Nahsma, that's really useful to know. I've had a Lasting Power of Attorney for quite a few years, but didn't know about the Land registry. I've been and gone and immediately signed up to have my home monitored.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Dec-21 14:33:36

Have you registered your LPA with the OPG rowyn? It can’t be used until you do and registration lessens the chance of someone trying to register a forged one.

Kate51 Thu 02-Dec-21 14:39:50


You can sign up for Land Registry alerts on your property here:

Can you tell me if this covers Scotland? It won't accept my postcode

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Dec-21 14:41:32

No. The LR only covers England and Wales. Scotland has a different system.

rowyn Thu 02-Dec-21 14:50:00

I think I did all the right things at the time, but I don't know what OPG is? Help!
Sorry if I'm being stupid.

GillT57 Thu 02-Dec-21 14:54:04


Is there anything you can sign up to to prevent this happening? It's just awful.

yes, you can do something online with Land Registry to alert you to any such potential fraud and criminal acts.