Over £1.79m caught in tenancy fraud in April
Well, another month has come and gone and another cabal of tenancy fraudsters have been identified. And more importantly, landlords protected.
As has been the trend for many months now, fraudulent documents tend to be the main vehicle with which tenants are trying to dupe letting agencies and landlords to secure rentals on false pretences. In April a whopping 71% of fraud cases included the modification of bank statements and 89% of cases included fake documents more broadly.
The other types of fake documents we received this month were:
Fake employment contracts
We also identified a number of newly created or entirely fabricated website domains to pose as authentic income references.
However, as usual we caught them all.
Another interesting feature of this month's fraud round up is the nationality ratio of our culprits. Last month, 44% of frauds held a UK passport. In April, this has shot up to 71%.
Just over 11% of all cases were submitted by fraudsters we had been caught previously, flagging up in our tenancy fraud database.
UK fraudster profile for April
Homeppl strives to promote financial inclusion in the UK and global rental industry by using advanced referencing technology that goes beyond the traditional UK credit checks. Our system allows us to evaluate potential tenants from anywhere and provide landlords and letting agents with the most qualified tenants, even if they have little, no, or complex credit history. Moreover, we use advanced fraud detection technology to safeguard our clients from the rising threat of application fraud.
We believe in providing the rental community with transparent information on the latest tenancy fraud trends. This is why we regularly publish our primary data sources to keep everyone up-to-date. Here is the Homeppl fraud report for April:
So what are the changes in data from March to April?
In a nutshell:
Gender & age
There's not been a major shift in the gender demographic - just a slight swing in favour of males. In March the ratio was 59%/41% male to female, now it's 65% to 35%.
The average age of our fraudsters increased by almost 12 months from 29.6 and is now 30.7.
For the third month in a row the average claimed income of fraudsters is in the £70k bracket. In February it was £71k, in March it was £76k and now the amount that fraudsters are claiming to earn is averaging at £71,275. This is definitely becoming a preferable income bracket for those lying about their employment.
There has been a considerable shift in the UK fraud landscape however. Last month we flagged tenancy fraud in Manchester, Liverpool, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Surrey, Dublin and Exeter. This month, London took the lion-share of fraud cases, totalling 82.4%. Surrey and Kent were also affected.
As it has been for every single month of 2023 to date, East London remains the epicentre of Tenancy Fraud in the UK. Whereas last month it represented 38.6%, there's been a marginal decrease to 35.7%. South East was the second most affected area sitting at 21.4% of London cases. East London letting agencies... beware.
Fraud Spotlight 💡
This month's fraud spotlight highlights a fake Lloyds bank statement that was submitted half-way through the month.
As well as fake bank statements and other financial documents, Homeppl has the capability to identify fake ID and visa documents too.
We can see that the applicant has decided to chose an old bank statement as proof of address and funds and has exported it this month.
This examples demonstrates our font analysis test, which runs instantly, and highlights any anomalies that appear in an official statement. Where you see a yellow hi-light in the middle of a red one, for instance we can see the date has been changed. We also detect modifications to the transaction descriptions, the balance summary and the sort and account numbers.
This is document fraud as apparent as it can be, yet completely unrecognisable by the human eye.
If this fraud was approved undetected, she may have cost our client almost £133,000 in contract value, legal and eviction costs. Not. On. Our. Watch.
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