Since this news broke, I have come to realise that many people are not aware that this is remotely possible. Unfortunately, it is and some people have been victims.
The majority of cases are people who have had their identity stolen. Usually, these fraudsters will target houses where the owners are not living there. This will allow them to have access to the post as well as be able to conduct viewings that are necessary to conduct the sale.
The fraud will usually take the form of transferring the property into the name of the fraudsters at the Land Registry and then they will either sell or mortgage it and then disappear with the proceeds.
One of the ways to avoid it, therefore, is to ensure that the address for service of notices which are sent out by the Land Registry is kept up to date so that you receive them. Please note that you can update anytime there is a change and you can provide up to more than one address including an email address.
You can also subscribe to the Land Registry alert service so that you are notified if something changes on the title of your property. This could be as little as a search or an application to change the register. This service is free to use.
Additionally, you can apply for restrictions to be entered against the title of your property at the land registry. These restrictions generally provide an additional layer of protection against fraudulent or unauthorised alteration of the title.
Some minor measures like redirecting the post also ensure that you get notices from the land registry promptly.
Clearly, this is a problem that can easily be avoided but potentially has far-reaching financial consequences. It is, therefore, better avoided.