As a real estate agent, it’s evident that the topic of cybercrime and the risk it presents has been prevalent within the property industry for some time. We have all heard the horror stories about funds being stolen throughout transactions and have become aware of what cybercriminals are truly capable of. For a while, it seemed we had the attitude “it will never happen to me”, however as property professionals, we need to understand that any one of us can become a victim. To survive in the industry, it is imperative that we must start taking the issue seriously as cybersecurity is now not only an option, but a necessity.
In the last 12 months, it appears there has been a shift in agents starting to take a more critical approach to cybercrime. While this is a positive improvement, it is imperative to continue spreading awareness of the threat to the industry. Clients put a substantial amount of trust in us as their real estate agents, and this alone should be a sufficient reason as to why we need to act and put preventative measures in place. We hold a significant amount of personal data and handle large sums of money that is not ours, and the integrity of our reputation and businesses relies on how we keep this information and money safe.
Through interacting with lawyers and conveyancers’, it’s clear in their correspondence that many of them now have procedures in place to minimise and handle these risks. An example of this includes displaying a fraud message warning in their email signature, explaining the increase in fraudulent emails relating to the transfer of money and for clients not to act on any communication without confirming the request over the phone.
An observation that I have made is that cybercrime is not something clients have raised with my team. We understand the dangers as real estate agents, however it is likely that clients may lack awareness of the threat. They may also assume that since we are the professionals we have procedures in place, so they don’t need to worry. Regardless of whether clients raise concerns around cybercrime and the transfer of property, it is our responsibility as professionals to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect them and provide peace of mind.
It has been a priority for me to set an example for my team on how we can prevent the risk of cybercrime and ensure that we have the resources to support this. Some of the measures that we have implemented in our daily processes are:
In a rapidly digitising world, we must take every possible measure to have protection against new and emerging threats. Prioritising cybersecurity is not only a matter of defence for us as property professionals, but it’s a commitment to safeguarding our client’s trust and providing resilience to our businesses.
Author: Adrian Simpson
Adrian Simpson is the approachable and highly accomplished Principal and sales leader of Coastwide First National Real Estate. Since starting his career in 2006, Adrian has been a dedicated professional who has built a reputation within the community as an entrusted agent who aspires to deliver service above and beyond client’s expectations with every interaction. Adrian has achieved recognition in his field of real estate sales with numerous accolades and awards made possible from his strong client following. He is also a current board member of Business in Wyong (formerly the Wyong Reginal Chamber of Commerce).