Fraud will never go away. As quickly as we find means to detect it, fraudsters find new ways to beat the system. As a result, fraud is a major issue concerning both lenders and introducers, with new entrants to the bridging sector particularly vulnerable.
Established lenders tend to have robust tools to combat known frauds, as well as the war wounds of experience. New lenders lack these tools when starting up and may also lack the lines of communication of long-standing lenders.
What is more, they are unlikely to be members of organisations such as the ASTL, so would have to do their own research on anti-fraud software. They would also not benefit from discounts on systems such as SIRA or National Hunter, which could make them unaffordable.
Would-be fraudsters are therefore more likely to target newer, less experienced lenders that may not have this infrastructure in place.
Also vital is access to intelligence from anti-fraud organisations, such as the Metropolitan Police (Amberhill), to pick up more grass-roots information, such as identifying fake passports, driving licences or bank statements. Information about title insurance is also important, as is the use of solicitors who are fully aware of the needs and pitfalls of bridging finance.
Fraud presents a threat to our entire industry. We all need to ensure we take every step available to limit it as much as possible.