Savvy REALTORS®, Managing Brokers and local association leaders can take steps to prevent criminals from accessing customer databases and stealing money through fraudulent emails and money transfers.
Start by exploring the idea of two-step authentication, says Matt Brewer, IAR Director of Information Technology. Two-step authentication can send a text message to your mobile phone whenever anyone attempts to open your email account. A code in the text message must be used to gain access to the email account.
If you are opening your own email account, you follow the instructions for the text message and go about your business. If someone else is trying to use your account to send messages to others, they will be unable to do so without the text message, and you will know something illegal is happening.
Brewer says that whenever you receive an email request for money or payment, even if it is from someone you know, you should verify the request in person or by telephone before completing a transaction. That way you know that a thief hasn’t hacked into another person’s identity.
In addition to these two steps, Brewer suggests that you use strong passwords on your accounts and you change them frequently.
Managing Brokers and local association leaders – particularly individuals with information technology, financial or chief executive officer responsibilities – must be particularly vigilant, he says, because cyber criminals will target their email accounts for use in scams.