RBS Business Banking | Land banking scams

What is a land banking scam?

Land banking scams are where investors are led to believe they are investing in land that will significantly increase in value through:

• plots being in areas with high house prices
• government intention of a general increase in housing
• proximity to land that has been allocated for development

In reality investors are sold land which:

• has no/very little development potential
• is very unlikely to be granted planning permission in the foreseeable future
• does not exist
• does not belong to the seller
• Like many investment frauds – such as boiler room fraud - the sale often takes place through high-pressured telephone calls, although it can also be through mailings, brochure distribution or websites.

What consider when buying land

When purchasing land it is advisable to:
• Contact the appropriate council, depending on the geographical location of the land, to check who actually owns the land according to the Land Registry
• Check if the land has planning permission or is likely to get it in the future
• Seek independent legal advice

Sources for further information

• FSA’s Description of Land Banking Scams www.fsa.gov.uk/
• ActionFraud’s Website for Reporting Fraud and Internet crime www.actionfraud.police.uk
• National Fraud Intelligence Bureau www.nfib.police.uk
• Money Advice Service on Scams www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/scams-and-identity-theft
• Land Registry www.landregistry.gov.uk

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