Being alert for scams

January 4, 2013

Landlords Insurance

There is something about the depths of winter that tends to bring out the con men and scammers of the world.

Yet another story* has surfaced of somebody being defrauded of very significant sums of money in what appears to have been, broadly speaking, a property scam.

In such situations, it is easy to sit back and think that we would never have been conned in such a fashion, yet the statistics might prove otherwise.  Even sophisticated and cynical people can be taken in by con men and their disgraceful activities, with the net result being an awfully large amount of your money being lost.

In the case of landlords insurance, a few basic precautions would always be sensible even though outright cons may be relatively unusual in that domain.

For example, even the providers of cheap insurance for landlords should be able to demonstrate that they are formally registered and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).  Details of their registration should be prominently displayed or provided upon request so that you are able to verify that they are a bona fide organisation directly with the FSA yourself.

Looking at testimonials on a provider’s website is useful but you should, of course, remember that these may be selective and not necessarily open to any customer who wishes to register dissatisfaction with the company concerned.  There are occasionally review sites where comments are left and these may be useful, however, remember again that people may leave intentionally over-complimentary or over-critical and unfair reviews of providers in such forums.

The recommendations of other landlords might be a valuable source of information relating to an insurance provider but while that may be valuable in overall terms of reputation, try to keep in mind that it might not mean that the solution that is suitable for another landlord is necessarily the best one for you.

In reality, the opportunities for scams in terms of providing landlords insurance may be relatively limited.  Ultimately the sums involved in paying a premium should be relatively modest and it is difficult to see how an insurance provider to policy holder relationship could be significantly abused.

Having said that, crooks are notoriously inventive and intelligent.  It always makes sense to keep your wits about you and in terms of dealing with organisations, to make sure you have verified via other independent sources that the company concerned is one that has a track record going back some time.

It is sad that such steps are necessary but it is the world we inhabit today.






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