Mortgage fraud losses 'in the hundreds of millions'

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LONDON - A new report out today on mortgage fraud has estimated the scale of mortgage fraud losses in the UK as "in the hundreds of millions of pounds".

The Fighting Mortgage Fraud Together report by the National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA) has been compiled following consultations with associations from across the industry, including the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries.

It outlines four key areas of improvement to help in the fight against fraud: designing-out the fraud risks inherent in different mortgage products and processes; instigating preventative safeguards and controls within firms at the right level to make mortgage fraud easier to spot and stop; ensuring professional integrity amongst key professional sectors; and driving up the risk to perpetrators through more effective detection and prosecution.

Sandra Quinn, interim chief executive of the NFSA, explained: "By bringing together all the groups involved in the mortgage process, the NFSA has provided a structured approach for people to identify the causes of mortgage fraud - and most importantly - develop and own the solutions that will shut down these opportunities for fraudsters to exploit the buying process.

"Many of the gaps identified result from processes that were created in response to market demand or consumer need. The challenge is to make sure that when the market improves these needs and demands can continue to be met in a way that does not harm the effectiveness of the sector, and does not allow criminals to defraud honest parties."

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