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Real estate smishing

Smishing and Real Estate: How to Protect You and Your Clients

25 Sep, 2022

In today’s automated real estate market, it is more important than ever to be on top of potential technical security breaches that could interfere with you or your clients’ transactions. “Smishing” is the newest cybercriminal act. It is a combination of the words short message services (SMS) and phishing.

Basically, criminals understand that people trust text messaging way more than email. They are using this “trust” to get personal information and data from people. In fact, according to Norton.com, “It is this mistaken trust that may have led to smishing scams increasing by more than 300% in the last two years.”

As real estate professionals, we understand the extreme importance of digital security when it comes to the technology side of a transaction. However, your clients may not be of the same mindset. Which is why it’s so important to remind them to only accept texts from your trusted partners, and the parameters in which they will be asked/required to share personal information.

Here’s an example of smishing in real estate:

“Bob” a smishing criminal, collects lots of data about people and finds out that your client “Mary” is buying a new home. Bob texts Mary using a fabricated real estate industry name, malicious link, or form asking her to share her private information. Mary clicks on the link and provides the personal information. The hacker now uses Mary’s information to commit fraud or make a profit, and it greatly jeopardized her ability to close on her new home.

So, how do we avoid smishing attacks, and what can we advise our clients?

  • Avoid clicking on any suspicious link sent via text
  • Never respond to a suspicious text message
  • Verify all requests from any banks or real estate companies directly—or have your clients check with you first and you can let them know it’s safe to proceed
  • Never send out any personal information via text
  • Report Smishing attacks: You can forward all malicious text messages to SPAM (7726) and/or reach out to the FTC directly at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Being hyper-diligent about safe automated security practices in online real estate transactions is a must for today’s market. Be sure you partner with companies that share this mindset and work hard to keep you and your client’s information protected, secure, and confidential. At Velocity Title, we use the latest cybersecurity technology practices and software to ensure our clients’ information is safe. To learn more about how we can help your clients securely move forward with online remote closings, click here.

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