Real estate prices have been surging for months thanks to record low mortgage rates and shortage of available inventory. Whether you are personally involved in house hunting at the present, it’s important to be aware of any activity and inquiries on your lines of credit that could be putting you at risk. Thankfully, credit monitoring services, like those provided by those who have cyber liability coverage, can effectively prevent some types of cyber crime that might occur.
What is Credit Monitoring?
Credit monitoring is a service that is designed to scan your credit report for any changes and suspicious activity. This is an important tool as cases of cyber crime of all kinds continue to rise year after year.
Cyber Crime Risks in Real Estate
Of course, when it comes to the home buying process, some amount of credit inquiries are completely normal. After all, the only way to estimate a home payment or to get prequalified for a home loan is to have your credit evaluated through an inquiry. However, if any of these inquiries were from non-qualified mortgage lenders, meaning you didn’t give someone permission to run your credit, then you might have become a victim of a pretty common cyber crime.
Unfortunately, real estate transactions of all kinds are an attractive target for sophisticated fraud scams. The crime usually begins with a cyber criminal identifying a pending sale transaction in progress. They then build a profile, working between real estate agents, title companies and sellers and buyers. They then hack into one or more of the aforementioned parties' email accounts and monitor their email traffic, just waiting for the opportune time to strike.
The Scope of the Cyber Crime Problem
Admittedly, there is no industry that is free from risk when it comes to cyber crime. However, real estate transactions are considered especially lucrative for criminals, which make them even more attractive. In fact, it is such an attractive prospect that the FBI has noted that wire fraud within the real estate industry is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation. In the year 2017 alone, the FBI received 9,600 complaints pertaining to this type of crime, with losses exceeding $56 million. The scheme is outlined below by a member of the American Land Title Association:
“In real estate transactions, fraudsters assume the identity of the title or real estate agent handling the sale. The criminals forge the person’s email and other details that appear specific and authentic. Next, posing as the real estate or title agent, the scammers send an email to the buyer, providing wire instructions to the criminal's bank account, not the title agency’s legitimate account.”
Benefits of Credit Monitoring
The role of credit monitoring is to check credit reports for any changes and notify individuals of these changes using either a phone call, email or text services. After this, you as a consumer could identify whether a questionable charge is accurate, fraudulent or even accidental. Subsequent action will then be taken.
Credit monitoring services look for a variety of changes on your credit report. The following are a few you can expect your credit monitoring service to recognize:
- New accounts, like a mortgage loan or new credit card.
- Changes to your home address as this could indicate that a criminal is trying to reroute your mail.
- Any instances of your information being present on the dark web, this information could include your social security number or credit card number.
- Your payment history and account balances.
Prevent Cyber Attacks Before it Occurs
As with many areas of life, an ounce of prevention is most certainly worth a pound of cure with regard to cybersecurity. In our day and age, especially with the increased threat of cyber crime, cybersecurity isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Contact Winter-Dent by clicking here or on the link below for a cybersecurity assessment today, and don’t go another day without taking the steps you need to keep you and your business safe.