In today’s technology-driven world, no one is safe from cybercrime…no one. BUT there are steps you can take to minimize risk for you and your clients.
In June of 2017, the Risk Management Committee (RMC) created a task force1 chaired by J.T. Tsighis. The task force was charged with determining the best way to educate the real estate industry about the dangers associated with cybersecurity and wire fraud, and how to minimize that risk.
In an effort to assist REALTORS® and their clients, the task force created two documents:
- Wire Fraud Advisory; and
- Cybersecurity and Wire Fraud Policies and Procedures for brokers.
Wire Fraud Advisory
The Wire Fraud Advisory (Advisory) is available as a downloadable Word document (and ultimately available in zipForm®). Brokers are free to brand the Advisory and are encouraged to share it with their clients.
The intent behind the Advisory is that brokers will have a uniform document that advises clients of wire fraud and its potentially-devastating consequences. Included are ways for clients to protect themselves, reminders to verify emails, information clients receive during the transaction and more information about cybercrime.
Cybersecurity and Wire Fraud Policies and Procedures
Brokers may pick and choose those portions from the Cybersecurity and Wire Fraud Policies and Procedures that they would like to include within their own brokerage policies and procedures. This downloadable Word document includes best practices for using technology and dealing with electronic transactions. It also contains information related to reporting cybercrime in the event a brokerage or their client falls victim.
These documents are not meant to be all-inclusive and brokers may change information as they see fit, along with branding the documents. The hope of the task force is that these documents will be utilized to raise awareness and instill good practices when using technology.
For more information on cybercrime and cybersecurity, see this video from the National Association of REALTORS®.
1Members of the task force include Gerry Russell, Jon Kichen, Tahona Epperson, Patti Shaw, Sherry Olsen, Ryan Halldorson, Matt Sager and Richard Mack. The task force was assisted by Arizona REALTORS® staff members Jan Steward, Jamilla Brandt, Nikki Salgat, Matthew Howard, and Nick Catanesi. Additionally, Jason Kichen, an expert in cybercrime, made a special guest appearance.