Fraud levels are up – there’s no denying it. KPMG’s Fraud Barometer shows that the value of mortgage fraud nearly quadrupled in the first six months of 2010.
Of course, in terms of the number of cases the rise is less headline-grabbing – 21 cases compared with 18 in the same period last year.
But don’t let that fool you. It’s the value of the fraud taking place that is shocking – £96m compared with £24m last year. And KPMG says the problem is even worse than the figures suggest.
Many cynics say the statistics are distorted by a huge case worth more than £50m. They’re right, but that doesn’t make it OK.
This case highlights a trend that is worrying to lenders – collusion.
It involved two solicitors charged with obtaining a money transfer by dishonesty. Solicitors working together to rip off lenders is a problem that’s becoming more prevalent.
With mortgage fraud it’s hard to make a profit unless there are multiple agents. Rogue traders know this and work together to maximise the spoils.
The best way to fight this collusion is with collusion – lenders, brokers, solicitors, conveyancers and estate agents working together.
All parties in the chain must have the technology to keep their data secure. And all must be able to extract information from reporting channels to spot discrepancies and share knowledge of suspicious activities.