Over £3.3m caught in tenancy fraud in March - the highest fraud rates of 2023
Homeppl saw a 153% increase in the value of tenancy fraud between February and March. That means two things.
1) Fraud is becoming even more prolific as 2023 continues.
2) The types of properties that are currently being targeted by fraudsters are higher value rentals.
Our advice to luxury letting agents in high income areas: make sure you are referencing all tenants with advanced anti-tenancy fraud technology!
We've also seen a huge spike in fraudulent submissions from applicants who hold overseas passports. In March alone, 16 different nationalities made it on to our red flag list.
This month we've received:
Fake bank statements (This is the vehicle with which the great majority of frauds attempt to deceive our clients)
A fake student letter
Fake tax returns,
Fake utility bills
...AND we identified various international con artists through our AML adverse media checks.
It's safe to say the fraud fighters have been busy this month 🤼♂️
UK fraudster profile for March
Homeppl have always been focused on ensuring that we are bringing financial inclusion to the UK and international lettings industry via referencing technology that looks far beyond standard UK credit checks.
We assess anyone, anywhere and provide landlords and letting agents with the best available tenants regardless of whether their credit history is thin, non-existent or complex. We also use our fraud technology to protect our clients from the growing threat of tenancy and application fraud.
To that tune, we try and be transparent with the rental community regarding the latest, up-to-date trends on tenancy fraud, straight from our primary data sources.
This is the Homeppl fraud report for March:
So what are the changes in data from February to March?
In a nutshell:
Gender & age
Last month, the majority (64%) of the fraud cases we flagged were female. This month, females only represent 41% of cases, with the majority (59%) being male.
Our average fraudster was 4 years younger this month. In February, the average age was 33.5, this month, 29.6.
Similar to last month, we see very little change in the average claimed income/earnings of fraudsters with a marginal increase from £71k to £76k.
London takes the lions share of tenancy fraud this month with 67.6% of all fraud cases happening in the capital. However, the fraud landscape in the UK seems more diverse with tenancy fraud being flagged in Manchester, Liverpool, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Surrey, Dublin and Exeter!
As it has been for the entirety of 2023 so far, East London remains the epicentre of Tenancy Fraud in the UK. Whereas last month it represented 40% of all London fraud, this has slightly decreased to 38.6%, but still remains a hotspot. East London letting agencies... beware.
Fraud Spotlight 💡
This month's fraud spotlight highlights an application that included a fake visa that we identified mid-March.
As well as fake bank statements and other financial documents, Homeppl has the capability to identify fake ID and visa documents too.
This is a very interesting case, not only because visas are one of our less regularly edited documents but also because a routine AML check returned some alarming information about the applicant in question.
Our AML (Anti-Money Laundering) checks cross-reference prospective tenants with PEP (politically exposed persons), criminal and adverse media databases. This particular case uncovered that the applicant currently has outstanding theft charges to her name in addition to a history of disappearance. Not the most reliable of tenants for a landlord who is experiencing a cost of living crisis in the UK.
If this fraud was approved undetected, she may have cost our client almost £90,000 in contract value, legal and eviction costs. To that we say, not today. Not ever.
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For the latest monthly fraud report by Homeppl click below: