As a trusted real estate professional, your clients depend on you for many things. Knowledge of your market. An expert understanding of the reasonable value of the property being bought or sold. Sometimes if your clients are new to an area, they may even depend on you for information regarding schools and social activities. But one often overlooked area? Their reliance on you to make absolutely certain they are not victimized by cybercrime as a result of a property transaction.
Cybercrime is everywhere. The real estate and escrow industry are no exception. In fact, it is being targeted. Perpetrators are illegally accessing the email accounts of real estate professionals just like you, identifying transaction details, and using that information to impersonate your identity in stealing money from clients. Your email can even get “spoofed,” so if a client emails you that correspondence is redirected and you never see it. Bottom line? Get your clients in the habit of always confirming important transaction details by phone, preferably a landline.
- If you have reason to believe your email account has been compromised, you must change
the password or change email accounts
- Wiring instructions should NEVER be sent in an unsecured fashion
- It’s not the job of the realtor to send wiring instructions, nor should you want this liability
- Wiring instructions should always be sent by the title company
- Always use a good, reputable, secure email handler
- Phone calls to cancel checks and wire funds should always be confirmed with a follow up call
- Be incredibly cautious about conducting business from a mobile device
- Be wary of “we need to verify account information” and supplying information using links
- Get in the habit of changing your password every 60-90 days
Your title company should only send wiring instructions in a secure manner with encryption that requires a password or faxing from a secured line for access consistent with industry best practices and requirements.