Real estate firms are going digital – and taking on new risks.

Online communication, virtual showings and other digital tools have created new opportunities, added convenience and enabled work to continue during the pandemic, but all of these new tech tools come with additional cyber risks. Here’s what real estate firms need to watch out for.

Do Your Really Know Who You’re Dealing With?

The internet provides a layer of anonymity, and scammers can take advantage of this to pretend to be someone else.

According to the FBI, business email compromise (BEC) schemes are a growing threat. In 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 23,775 reports of BEC schemes that resulted in more than $1.7 billion in losses. Although these schemes can vary – cybercriminals are always changing their tactics to stay one step ahead of their victims – BEC scams typically involve a scammer who poses as a legitimate contact in order to request a wire transfer or other transaction. These scams can be very sophisticated and may involve numerous communications.

Real estate firms are not immune to BEC scams – in fact, real estate firms and their clients are frequent targets. For example, a cybercriminal may pose as a real estate agent to trick unsuspecting clients into making fraudulent wire transfers. Email accounts may be hacked or spoofed to make these requests look very convincing.

Real estate listings are also frequent targets. Scammers frequently copy legitimate real estate listings and pose as the seller, landlord or agent in order to dupe hopeful buyers and renters out of payments. According to NBC10 Boston, scams like this have increased amid the pandemic because prospects aren’t always able to check the properties in person.

Your Data Could Make You a Target

Cybercriminals love data. Because real estate firms may store sensitive financial information, they can be targets.

A data breach could put your clients at risk for identity theft, while ransomware could hold your data hostage so that your real estate firms can’t operate. According to the FBI’s 2019 IC3 Report, there were 2,047 complaints about ransomware in 2019, resulting in adjusted losses of more than $8.9 million.

Protect Your Firm and Your Clients

Operating in the digital world requires digital knowhow.

  • Educate your team about cyber risks. Real estate professionals should know the risks, and they should warn their clients about possible scams.
  • Secure your systems. In addition to knowing how to identify suspicious links and spoofed emails, real estate professionals should take steps to secure their computer systems with encryption, strong passwords and other cybersecurity measures.
  • Keep informed. Risks are rapidly evolving. Security measures that were effective last month may not work in the months to come. To learn more about how to protect your real estate firm from dangerous cyber threats, join us for a free webinar to learn current real estate industry best practices.

Join Us for a Free Webinar: How to Protect Your Business from Dangerous Cyber Threats

Many companies are operating with a partially or fully remote workforce now. With this shift, cyber attackers have found even more ways to exploit businesses.

Join RiskPoint Advisors and Corvus to learn how to safeguard your company against three common threats: Business Email Compromise, Ransomware, and Wire Fraud.

Webinar Details:

  • Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020
  • Time: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Key Takeaways:

  • The Attack – How and why these attacks occur
  • The Response – Best practices for responding to Business Email Compromise, Ransomware and Wire Fraud
  • Risk Mitigation and Prevention – How to avoid Business Email Compromise, Wire Fraud and Ransomware in the first place
  • How Corvus Partners with You – Corvus Risk Mitigation Solutions, Breach Response and Claims