Jacqueline M. Hudkins
The 2 Best Ways to Prevent Wire Fraud as a Realtor
Are you a realtor looking for ways to secure your business transactions with customers? Even if you take security precautions with your client’s information and constantly check the validity of the email accounts you’re corresponding with, you may still be at risk of wire fraud.
In this blog, we’ll show you take some additional precautions to make sure that you and your clients don’t fall victim to wire fraud.
There are two main ways that hackers are able to steal your client’s money, through your email and public wifi networks. But we have two tips to help you strengthen your email security and protect your information on public wifi networks.
Use Two-Factor Email Authentication
As we discussed in “Three Steps to Understand and Prevent Wire Fraud” one of the most common ways to fall victim to wire fraud is through fake emails. Hackers will pose as someone in your transaction and ask you to wire money through their account - often using similar email account names. Once you complete the transaction, your money could be in a different country within hours, minutes, or even seconds.
Most common email services, such as Gmail or Yahoo, are susceptible to being hacked. You can better secure those email accounts by using two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication you connect your phone number directly to your email account.
Anytime someone tries accessing your email from an unknown device, they’ll be asked to input a code that is sent directly to your phone. If it’s you, you can easily input the code and log on. If it’s someone who is attempting to defraud you or your client, they won’t receive the code. This could add a few seconds to your time logging in, but it will save your clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential wire fraud.
2. Use a VPN
The second common way you can fall victim to wire fraud is through public wifi. Anytime you’re traveling, staying in hotels, going to your favorite coffee shop, you may not think twice about logging into that company’s convenient public wifi.
Unfortunately, hackers can mirror that public wifi, acting as an intermediary between your device, and your connection to the internet. When you log on, they can monitor your keystrokes and internet use, stealing your passwords and access to your accounts.
One simple answer is to not use public wifi networks. However this isn’t a solution for everyone, especially if you’re a frequent traveller, or have a limited phone data plan and need to use public wifi from time to time.
In this case you can get a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN is a service that you subscribe to which allows you to create secure connections to wifi networks wherever you go. VPNs encrypt your computer data, making it much more difficult for anyone who tries to steal your information.
You can get a VPN for your company, or just for yourself or family. To find the VPN that’s best for you, check out this article from CNET that rates the pros and cons of various VPN services for 2020.
While wire fraud is becoming more common, the wonderful New Hampshire Realtors Association has joined in on raising awareness against wire fraud and helping to educate their clients. For more information feel free to call or email us at Hudkins Law. Additionally you can learn more at the National Association of Realtors website.
We at Hudkins Law prides ourselves on being professionals in the marketplace, joining efforts to keep money safe and protect everyone for a successful transaction. We’d love to help you get to the closing table.