London-based PropTech firm Homeppl has developed two ‘revolutionary’ fraud detection tools to support agencies currently combating rising levels of rental fraud.
The first technology – a document analysis tool – enables letting agents and landlords to effectively screen a renter by processing documentation that is analysed at an even deeper level compared to existing screening technologies.
Through this new solution, Homeppl can detect fraud by spotting inconsistencies and nuances in the document’s typography and font styles, with fonts dissimilar to those used by banks flagging that the document has been tampered with.
The second product innovation, dubbed ‘Heimdall’ – named after the mythological Norse god who keeps watch of invaders – has been developed to control Homeppl’s proprietary fraud data to develop an alert for the rental screening process.
By scanning a variety of different data points, Heimdall can determine an applicant’s legitimacy and recognises when a fraudster is committing rental fraud multiple times through various agencies.
With the introduction of two new innovations – both of which complement Homeppl’s ‘best-in-class’ fraud detection and screening process – agencies and landlords can ensure tenants are being fairly screened so that legitimate, reliable renters are approved.
Commenting on the technology, Alexander Siedes, chief executive officer and founder of Homeppl, says: “It is no secret that the rental sector is a fast-moving and challenging landscape for agencies to manage today – couple this trend with an unprecedented volume of rental fraud – and it makes for a difficult space for both agencies and landlords to navigate.”
“Through our new document analysis tool and Heimdall, we are able to elevate our referencing technology with something created specifically to tackle today’s fraud challenges, an area that we have been dedicated to addressing to ensure our clients only approve the best, legitimate tenants.”
He continues: “Additionally, our new document analysis tool ensures no documents that can be forged get past us, so our clients can benefit from the most robust solution they need to tackle increasing volumes of fraud.”
Over the last 12-18 months, the UK rental sector has experienced seismic shifts, some of which have had an impact, directly and indirectly, on the rising levels of rental fraud.
More recently, Homeppl has witnessed this trend first-hand, having detected a 100% increase in rental fraud during Q4 2021 compared to the quarter prior.
This upward trend is being intensified by the ‘growing sophistication’ in fraud which continues to evolve. Not only are fraudsters doctoring identification and application documents, but Homeppl has also witnessed an increase in fraudsters using false websites, payslips and other digital materials to enhance their rental application.
These latest innovations have been developed entirely using Homeppl’s proprietary fraud data. Initially, Heimdall was borne out of a pet project during late 2021 as an experiment to see whether the PropTech’s extensive fraud data could be harnessed further. Now, both technological evolutions form part of Homeppl’s primary fraud detection technology for letting agencies to leverage moving forward.
Siedes concludes, “The growing volume of fraud is having a detrimental downstream impact on landlords and agencies at such an active time for the sector. These two new product developments offer our clients with additional peace of mind that their renters are being screened swiftly, accurately and with no risk that fraudsters will slip through the net.”
“Ultimately, this means their time can be optimised by focusing on other critical business areas.”
Homeppl aims to increase the power of Heimdall in the near future by harnessing even more internal data points to ensure a wider range of information can be analysed to detect fraud.
As part of this development, the team plans to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to turbo-charge Homeppl’s fraud detection capabilities.