Raising Awareness About Real Estate Scams

By Hope Walborn | Nov. 30, 2023 | 2 min. read

“Real estate is the fifth most targeted industry for cyber scams in the United States,” says Craig Grant, CEO of the Real Estate Technology Institute. “Cyber criminals love real estate for many reasons, including the fact that they can make a ton of money from it very quickly.”

From phishing to title theft, real estate is plagued with scammers and fraudsters looking to take advantage of homebuyers and slide under the radar of real estate professionals. It’s important to be aware of scams in the industry so you can protect yourself and your clients.

“The biggest threat to real estate, in my opinion, is wire transfer fraud,” Grant warns. “Last year, $1.9 billion were lost in wire frauds.”

Realtors® must also protect their data. As professionals who deal with a great amount of Personally Identifiable Information on a daily basis, it’s crucial to store client data in a secure manner. Hackers often steal PII, such as social security numbers and bank account information, which sell for large amounts of money on the dark web.

“You’ll be a victim if you don’t have the right security in place,” Grant advises. “You can’t really stop a good and motivated hacker, but you can slow them down by doing things like ensuring all of your devices are secured with top-notch anti-virus protection, utilizing a VPN when you are in public or using open networks and having strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts.”

He stresses the importance of awareness and cyber security, saying, “It can easily be the difference between succeeding and being put out of the business. A consumer or buyer can really lose their entire life savings in one click.”

Grant is hosting a session at this year’s Triple Play Realtor® Convention and Trade Expo titled “Top Scams Targeting the Real Estate Industry,” where he will cover common scams that are targeting the real estate industry and how to recognize them. These include wire transfer fraud, listing scams, phishing and more. You can register for Triple Play online.

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