Cyber-crime in the real estate industry is not necessarily NEWS but the scams are getting more and more sophisticated. Hackers are using your own e-mails to gather information about upcoming settlements. These hackers are very patient and very smart.
As a real estate agent you need to worry about your reputation as well damages that may be incurred by your customers and clients. The hacked company risks lawsuits, company reputation and financial ruin.
A common scam running rampant now is the "wire" scam. The hacker use software to enter e-mail accounts to obtain information about upcoming transactions. From there, the software pretends to be the real estate agent and asks recipients to wire funds to a bank account. The bank account belongs to the hacker, NOT the title agent or the real estate agent. By the time its realized that the system has been hacked it's often too late.
What can you do to protect yourself, your company and your clients?
- Don't use FREE e-mail providers for business
- Have quality anti-virus, firewall and security protection on all computers.
- Beef up security with strong passwords with a mix of numbers, symbols, upper case and lower case letters
- Secure your wireless network with passwords and don’t use free WiFi for personal or professional use
- Transmit all contracts, addenda and other communications to all parties involved in the transaction via encrypted mail only
- Urge your clients to call the Realtor, the title agent or the lender before responding to any instructions in e-mails to insure validity
Working together we can at least minimize the risk to ourselves, our companies and our clients.
- Charlene Perry, CLTP