Some 23% of homebuyers aren’t even being asked to provide a piece of ID when buying a property, let alone having their ID properly verified, research from Credas Technologies has revealed.
When asked the same with respect to their current address, 30% also stated they provided no proof, for example, in the form of a utility bill or similar.
Tim Barnett, chief executive of Credas Technologies, said: “For the vast majority of those operating within the property industry, failing to verify the identity of a potential buyer may sound unbelievable.
“Not only is there a legal requirement to do so, but it can also be incredibly detrimental should they fall foul of criminal activity.
“Unfortunately, it does happen more often than you may think, particularly for those attempting to verify a vast number of buyers on a manual basis.
Three quarters (77%) were asked to prove their identity, a task that can be completed quickly with a passport or driving licence, a biometric residence permit, national identity card or a combination of documents such as council tax bills, bank statements and utility bills.
It can also be done via a KBV, where a number of questions are asked based on personal information from their credit file.
13% stated that they weren’t asked to verify their identity by their lawyer or solicitor once the sale had started to progress.
18% also said that when starting out, their mortgage broker also failed to verify their identity properly.
Barnett added: “This is almost certainly an oversight due to stretched resources, rather than a cavalier attitude on the part of property industry professionals.
“However, it does demonstrate the value that can be gained from a professional approach, whereby one identity verification can then be used across every area of the transaction process and by multiple shareholders such as agents, solicitors and mortgage brokers.
“It also highlights the value of investing in a bonafide onboarding platform that will prevent any transaction from progressing should a buyer’s identity not be properly verified.
“Not only does this approach save time, money and resources, but it reduces the chance for criminal entities to utilise the industry to launder their ill-gotten gains.”