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US Real Estate Agents have become perfect targets for Cyber-Crime

NAR Associate general council Jessica Edgerton offers important advice for realtors on LinkedIn.

“Think before you click.” —NAR Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton

US real estate companies have become perfect targets for cyber-criminals, warns NAR Associate General Counsel Jessica Edgerton.

Don’t Let Cybercrime Put You Out of Business

Ransomware is “insidious and powerful,” said NAR attorney Jessica Edgerton, and if it heads your way, paying the ransom may be the only way to get your data back. Apart from digging a hole in your back yard, throwing your computer in, dousing it with gasoline, and lighting it on fire, there’s no foolproof way to protect yourself from cybercrime, said National Association of REALTORS® Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton.

Since few if any brokers and agents would work without a computer or smartphone, industry pros need to address the threat head-on, Edgerton said, speaking at the Emerging Business Issues & Technology Forum at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C.

She offered warning signs and practical strategies for warding off cyber criminals.

“Cybercrime is a global problem,” Edgerton said, one that’s becoming more prevalent and more urgent. According to Juniper Research, the annual cost of data breaches through cybercrime is expected to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019. And it’s not just government agencies or large multinational corporations that are targets. Smaller and midsized real estate companies—where transactions involve multiple players and large sums of money—are an ideal target for criminals, Edgerton said. Among small businesses victimized by a successful cybersecurity breach, she said, 60 percent go out of business within six months.

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