How to guard against real estate identity theft

NEW YORK – Dec. 16, 2014 – Real estate agents need to take steps to safeguard clients’ personal financial and other confidential information during the buying or selling process, and a transaction can fall apart before closing if a client’s identity is compromised.

It’s important for brokers and agents to pay close attention to information that is shared. The should always:

  • note where it’s stored, and the security level of the storage area
  • lock up, encrypt or password-protect client data
  • ask clients to provide personal information only on a need-to-know basis
  • collect personal information, like Social Security numbers, in person – and only when absolutely necessary

In addition, a client’s Social Security number should not be written on any forms at the closing, and all unnecessary documents should be shredded.

Finally, agents should also keep tabs on personal information that’s out of their hands, and know how other firms involved in the transaction get rid of outdated documents.

Agents should also be prepared to answer clients’ questions when they ask about data encryption and website security.

Source: Inman News (12/10/14) Siciliano, Robert

© Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

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