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Landlords at risk of fraud

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02/06/2006

Landlords and buy-to-let owners are one of the groups most at risk from identity theft, according to credit reference agency, Experian.

One in two (48 per cent) identity fraud victims who knew the person that had used their identity were landlords. The risk is exacerbated for landlords renting out property they have previously lived in, as over 4 in 10 (41 per cent) cases of identity fraud are previous address fraud.

In some cases, fraudulent tenants have used the landlord’s name and the rented property’s address to apply for credit, such as credit cards, loans or even just mail-order goods, in the landlord’s name.

Tenants have also intercepted mail addressed to their landlord and used personal details enclosed in the mail to open fraudulent credit accounts.

In both scenarios, the credit application is logged on the landlord’s credit report and bills of thousands of pounds can be run up in the landlord’s name, seriously affecting his or her future borrowing power.

Experian has produced five top tips for buy-to-let property owners to protect their identities. These are: re-direct your post; carry out comprehensive checks before signing a contract with a new tenant; register with the Mailing Preference Service to have your name taken off most of the direct mailing lists in the UK at the rented property; fit secure, individual mail-boxes for your tenants if it’s a shared property; and monitor your credit report.

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