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FSA wants brokers to be fraud sleuths

The FSA is calling for greater collaboration from mortgage brokers to help tackle mortgage fraud.

The regulator says brokers should look out for suspected fraudulent documentation, false or doubtful income and employment details and links or trends identified between clients.

The regulator says brokers must realise they are responsible for reporting any wider suspicions of fraudulent activity or examples of poor practices resulting in potential fraud that have come to their notice.

As part of its fight against mortgage fraud, the regulator says that it is working to encourage greater collaboration and coordination among key participants to toughen the industry’s defences against fraud. FSA director of financial crime Philip Robinson says: “Mortgage fraudsters tarnish the reputation of the industry as a whole and there is no place in the market for firms who are, or have been, knowingly involved in mortgage fraud.

“Our work will increase our effectiveness in identifying and tackling such firms.”

But Quantum Mortgage Brokers partner Fahim Antoniades says brokers do not have the technology to identify fraudulent documents from real ones.

He says brokers need access to verification technology that identifies fraudulent documents if they are to be held responsible for detecting fraud.

He says: “It is sometimes difficult to tell if documents are real or fake. On the one hand, we are told that it is our responsibility to detect fraudulent documents but on the other hand we have no access to verification technology.

“There is room in the market for a company that offers verification or validation of documents. Once documents are signed off, then the responsibility would be transferred to the verification company. It is the only way to eliminate forgeries.”

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