Fraud group launched for equity release sector

SHIP sets up Fraud Working Group

Safe Home Income Plans, the equity release trade body, has set up a group to crack down on fraud in the sector.

The Fraud Working Group aims to bring together SHIP members, advisers and solicitors to put in place good practice guidelines to help protect equity release borrowers against fraud.

SHIP says it intends to build relationships with appropriate organisations to share information and raise fraud protection standards.

Andrea Rozario, director-general of SHIP, said: “A person’s home is often their largest and most valuable asset – both financially and sentimentally. Therefore the decision to release the equity from it is a big one, and it is important that consumers have confidence in the safety of the products they have chosen. 

“SHIP’s Code of Conduct has helped to protect customers and build the reputation of the industry. The Fraud Working Group will work to develop industry guidelines to further increase standards and guidelines which will ensure the ongoing safety of customers.”

The immediate priorities of the Fraud Working Group include establishing SHIP representation at the Mortgage Fraud Forum – a joint venture by the National Fraud Authority and Metropolitan Police to crack down in fraud in the mortgage industry – and finding organisations that could help identify suspicious activity early on in an application.

The group will also be looking to team up with organisations that could help improve industry awareness of potentially fraudulent activities.

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