Across all industries, data breaches and cyber-attacks are on the rise. With many small to medium-sized companies and high sales volumes, the real estate industry is a favorite target for would-be hackers and bad actors. Learn how to stay smart and safe from digital threats.
Make Sure You’re Talking to the Right Person and Getting the Right Information
Many brokers build their brand presence through social media. While this is an excellent marketing tactic, adding extra cybersecurity measures may be a good idea. With so much personal data online, it’s easy for hackers to send you a personalized, seemingly innocent email. Before meeting with a new client, always do your due diligence. Use the tools in your CONNECT dashboard, such as Matrix or Realist, to search public records and find owner property information. Taking extra steps like touring the property and checking client identification online can save you time and heartache in the long run. If a situation seems fishy, contact your managing broker for guidance.
Pro Tip: Whether you’re conducting in-person showings or using virtual tools, keep your safety in mind with these quick tips.
Watch Out for Wire Fraud
Stay aware, stay alert
Wire fraud is one of the most common scams in the real estate industry. In fact, the FBI counted a total of 11,578 victims of wire fraud within the real estate and rental industry and a total loss of $350,328,166 in 2021 (See full FBI report here). Scammers may take on the identity of a title, closing attorney, or client and forge new email addresses and transaction details. The scammers then email agents, buyers, or sellers with further information and instructions to wire money into the criminal’s bank account.
Below are four tips from the Federal Trade Commission to protect yourself from online scams:
- Use security software to protect your computer and set it to update automatically.
- Set software on your phone to update automatically.
- Use multi-factor authentication (one-time verification passcodes, PIN, fingerprint, etc.).
- Back up your data to the cloud or external hard drive to protect important information.