Brokers told to expose fraudsters

The National Fraud Strategic Authority is calling on mortgage brokers to blow the whistle on fraudsters operating in the market.

A report from the NFSA, a government agency officially launched in September, estimates mortgage fraud losses cost hundreds of millions of pounds and suggests that the economic downturn could make things worse.

Through its work with the Financial Services Authority, it is encouraging brokers to report their suspicions of problems in the intermediary sector to the regulator for investigation.

Sandra Quinn, interim chief executive of the NFSA, says: “By bringing together the groups in-volved in the mortgage process, the NFSA has provided a structured approach for the industry to iden-tify the causes of mortgage fraud and develop the solutions that will shut down opportunities for fraudsters.”

To assist the NFSA campaign, fraud prevention service CIFAS has given brokers access to its staff fraud database to ensure fraudulent workers are identified at the application stage.

But Neil Munroe, external aff-airs director at Equifax, says that the campaign is unlikely to be a success.

He says: “The FSA has not had much success with whistle-blowing in the past but I can see why it would call for it.

“The fact that this is the first report by the NFSA means that mortgage fraud is likely to get worse before it gets better.”

He adds: “Historically speaking, economic downturns result in more fraud.”