The number of people lying about the state of their finances in an attempt to take out mortgages for homes which are beyond their reach is rising, a study has found.
Some 39 in every 10,000 mortgage applications were detected as fraudulent during the second quarter of this year, a 23% year-on-year increase, Experian said.
The rise in attempted mortgage fraud coincides with a period when lenders have been tightening up their borrowing criteria, making it harder for borrowers to take out a mortgage and triggering a drop in the proportion of mortgage approvals.
While there have been signs of increased competition to attract mortgage customers in recent weeks, much of this has been aimed at those with larger deposits. James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, said: "The increase certainly reflects the fact that many households are increasingly cash-strapped and resorting to ever more desperate measures.
"Nearly a quarter of mortgage fraud is due to people inflating their incomes."
More than a million home owners saw their mortgage rates increase in May, with banks blaming the increased cost of funding a mortgage and concerns were raised that people will find it harder to switch to another deal due to lenders' toughened criteria.
Experian said the majority of attempted mortgage frauds were due to people lying about their own circumstances. Just under a quarter of them were made by people trying to hide a bad credit history and one in five attempts were due to people giving misleading employment information.
The study also noted an increase in cases where people gave wrong information about the use of the property, such as saying they intended to live in it when they planned to rent it out.
Meanwhile, interest among landlords has picked up as rents have soared due to a high numbers of tenants who are unable to get on the property ladder in the tough economy.