To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to support serious fraud investigation units in England particularly in relation to fraudulent property transactions.
19 November 2021
The Government is boosting police capacity and is committed to strengthening our criminal justice system to put victims first. As part of the Police Uplift Programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023, we have prioritised more investigators in the City of London Police to fulfil their role as a world class fraud specialist force. We have also channelled additional officer resource into the Regional Organised Crime Unit network to work on a host of serious and organised crime threats including fraud.
The Government is also aware of the harms caused by identity theft and that criminals use this to commit and enable a range of offences, from benefit fraud, credit card fraud to fraudulently obtaining property.
We are actively working on a number of initiatives to reduce identity-enabled crime and deny criminals the opportunity to exploit false or stolen personal data. This includes developing proposals for a digital identity system that would enable people to prove their identity easily and securely, without the need to provide physical documents, with the aim of reducing identity-enabled fraud and crime. However, the Government recognises there is more to do, and we are working closely with industry, regulators, and consumer groups to tackle fraud and close those vulnerabilities that criminals too easily exploit.
Reporting incidents of fraud helps us stop fraudsters and protect other people from becoming victims. Any experience of property fraud should be reported directly to HM Land Registry through their dedicated Property Fraud Line at email@example.com. Owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage should also register an Anti-Fraud Restriction with HM Land Registry. We also continue to ask the public to report fraud to the police through Action Fraud by phone on 0300 123 2040 or through their website: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.
It is important that victims of fraud receive the support that they are entitled to. Action Fraud also provides protective advice to individuals who contact the service and Citizens Advice can provide options for redress.