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One in six will commit mortgage fraud to get a deal

One in six will commit mortgage fraud to get a deal
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

According to Cifas research, one in six UK adults have exaggerated their earnings to get a mortgage, or know someone that has.

The fraud prevention service found that some people are prepared to dishonestly inflate their earnings by as much as £10,000, and even forge payslips, in order to buy or remortgage a home.

Surveying 2,000 UK adults, the research revealed that 14% of respondents didn’t think it was illegal to provide mortgage lenders with misleading information, with nearly one in 10 (9%) believing it was ‘reasonable’ to exaggerate their income. The most likely age group to commit this type of fraud was those aged 25 to 34-years-old (16%).

However, using false or altered documents to support a mortgage application is fraud.

Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: “While buying your dream home can be an extremely exciting time, it is important to be realistic about what is affordable. Being dishonest about earnings and providing false information when applying for a mortgage is not the answer – not only are you breaking the law, but it can make life incredibly difficult when making repayments.

“First-party fraud is not ‘reasonable’ to commit nor is it victimless. Exaggerating earnings and even going as far as to supply forged payslips can result in a number of severe consequences. Bank accounts can be closed, credit scores will be harmed, and many individuals could find themselves with a criminal record and even a prison sentence.”

Ben Thompson, Deputy CEO at the Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: “The findings point to this fraudulent activity being most common among younger homebuyers and this is perhaps not a surprise, given the affordability barriers that hold this generation back from the very reasonable aspiration of owning their own home.

“While more needs to be done to raise the awareness of just how serious a crime mortgage fraud is, the Government also needs to look at the root cause of this issue. And for younger buyers in particular, it must use the various tools it has at its disposal to smooth the path into homeownership. It shouldn’t be the norm that people can’t buy their first property until they are well into their 30s, and the Government must do more.”