Cybercrime and cybersecurity is a growing concern for the real estate industry. Reports of wire fraud taking place in real estate transactions are being brought to light daily. Louisiana REALTORS® has compiled a new Cybersecurity resource with information and helpful things to protect your business and your clients from becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Apart from digging a hole in your backyard, throwing your computer in, dousing it with gasoline, and lighting it on fire, there's no foolproof way to protect yourself from cybercrime, said National Association of REALTORS® Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton.
Since few if any brokers and agents would work without a computer or smartphone, industry pros need to address the threat head-on, Edgerton said, speaking at the Emerging Business Issues & Technology Forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C. She offered warning signs and practical strategies for warding off cybercriminals.
“Cybercrime is a global problem," Edgerton said, one that's becoming more prevalent and more urgent. According to Juniper Research, the annual cost of data breaches through cybercrime is expected to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019. And it’s not just government agencies or large multinational corporations that are targets. Smaller and midsized real estate companies—where transactions involve multiple players and large sums of money—are an ideal target for criminals, Edgerton said. Among small businesses victimized by a successful cybersecurity breach, she said, 60 percent go out of business within six months.
<<Read the Full Article from REALTOR Mag>>
As a precaution, REALTORS® may want to consider having their clients sign a document advising them of the potential of wire fraud to ensure that all parties to the real estate transaction are aware of the possibility of this occurring to them. Louisiana REALTORS® was provided a copy of forms currently utilized by REALTORS® in Louisiana and other states and developed a sample form you may want to consider implementing in your practice. The form is general in nature and can be modified to fit your office’s practices and needs.
More information about securing data, wired fraud and some best practices to implement can be found on the <<Cybersecurity>> page.