As it’s standard practice to use computer networks and the internet to conduct business, cyber fraud is becoming more commonplace. From individuals to corporations, it seems none are immune from a cyber-attack. And with the large amount of sensitive personal and financial data shared during a single transaction, real estate sales and loan closings are understandably one of the hottest targets for these cyber criminals.
Most commonly, hackers target unsecured emails and steal correspondences between you and your title company, lender and/or realtor.
They search these messages for sensitive information such as bank account and routing numbers, social security numbers and other sensitive data and use it to steal your cash or identity. Without proper precautions, individuals find themselves exposed to privacy violations and theft, while lenders and other businesses find themselves exposed to potentially enormous liability if a data breach occurs.
So, what can you do to make sure your information is protected, and your transaction goes off without a hitch?
Don’t be afraid to ask your service providers what measures they’re taking to keep your sensitive, personal information safe. Ask them:
- Do you have security software installed on your computers?
- Are your computers password protected?
- Who will have access to your personal information and how will it be disposed of when the transaction is complete?
You should also take precautions to protect yourself such as:
- Never send personal information over a public wireless network.
- Use encryption software whenever possible when sending sensitive information over the Internet.
To protect yourself, it’s important to verify that your service providers have security protocols in place to protect your personal information and that you also take measures to protect your personal data. Real Estate Attorney Hugh Fitzpatrick discusses the growth of this new crime trend and some best practices to protect your identity and assets in this short video.