Robert Siciliano

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      Robert Siciliano
    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Identity Theft Expert
    • Organization:IDTheftSecurity.com
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    Exclusive Coaching Call Webinar Recording

    Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 11:23 AM [General]
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    My interview with CNN has been trending all over the internet, and that makes me so happy because we talked about a very important topic–personal security. I’m so passionate about this subject that I wanted to provide some followup commentary. Use this link to view my most recent discussion, but this is not for the faint of heart…

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    “Troncast” Podcast with Tron Jordheim

    Friday, April 12, 2019, 5:40 AM [General]
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    I recently had the opportunity to join Tron Jordheim on his podcast hosted on stitcher.com. We talked about digital security and how to watch out for yourself in our digital landscape. I was able to share advice on privacy, information security and why it is so important to take control of your own security, and ultimately your life. Thanks again to Tron, stitcher.com and the sponsors of this “Troncast!”

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    How to Phish Google and Facebook and Make Millions

    Friday, April 5, 2019, 7:47 AM [General]
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    Evaldas Rimasauskas, a Lithuanian man, became very rich. How? He is a criminal who used his lying skills to get more than $100 million from companies such as Facebook and Google between 2013 and 2015.

    He’s now in jail, but during his trial, Rimasauskas admitted that he was guilty of several crimes including money laundering, wire fraud and identity theft. According to court records, Rimasauskas created a Latvian company called Quanta Computer Incorporated, which was the same name as a computer hardware company. He then opened several bank accounts in five different countries, which enabled him to keep the scheme up for so long.

    How Did He Do It?

    He basically used his skills to forge contracts, invoices and letters from existing companies, which he then submitted to banks for wire transfers. By doing things like spoofing email addresses and using the same name as a well-known hardware company, he was easily able to do this without being caught—at least for a couple of years. So, fake invoices along with phishing, and various forms of social engineering, made the victim companies think they were getting bills from a legitimate vendor. Once he got the money, he could distribute the cash to his other accounts, which was an attempt to cover his tracks.

    Rimasauskas is certainly not the only person out there trying these schemes. Fake invoices are not at all a new scam. Criminals bombard businesses every day with invoices for products and services they’ve never consumed, and when accounts receivable receives an invoice and demand for payment, they often just write a check or wire the money.

    The Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is part of the FBI, has said that these schemes have cost organizations more than three billion dollars in a little over three years. This was a whopping 1,300% increase when compared to the previous years. Before any invoice is ever paid, there needs to be an inquiry into the source of the invoice, a discussion of who the vendor is and if a payment is actually due.

    The Maximum Jail Sentence Is…Since Rimasauskas plead guilty, there is no doubt that he is heading to jail for a longtime, and he faces a max sentence of 30 years. He has also agreed to pay back almost $50 million, which is the amount that the U.S. government was able to track as well as the amount listed in the indictment for the wire fraud charge that he faced.

    If he is found guilty of every charge, he could see as much as three decades in prison. What about the companies that have been victims of Rimasauskas? According to reports, the money has been recouped, at least in the case of Google. Facebook and other companies have not yet shared if the money Rimasauskas took has been taken back.

    There is so much more to this, and, while I can’t solve all the world’s problems, I can at least make you cyber-security smarter and digitally literate. Take a look at our eLearning Courses and our S.A.F.E. Certification.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    How Criminals Prey on the Art World and Real Estate

    Saturday, March 16, 2019, 11:52 AM [General]
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    Any industry involving wiring transfers of large sums of money is vulnerable to this new type of hack. Purchasing a car, home or piece of art are large transactions and are not usually done in cash. In well-established industries like real estate, there are some checks and balances, but while one would think it would be very tough to pull off this scam in real estate, it is just as easy. I do not know how many billionaire art collectors follow my blog (they should!), but most of you are regular people like my family and friends.

    Although many of us will never experience buying a million-dollar art piece from Italy, we can relate to purchasing a home. How can we make the world Safr? As a Safr.Me community, we need to rely less on industry security parameters and learn how to manually spot email-engineered money-wiring scams; they are not necessarily a common hack. Safr.mesafr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 80w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 768w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 1030w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 400w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 36w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 180w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 1500w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 705w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 100w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 480w, safr.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/girl-... 610w" sizes="(max-width: 380px) 100vw, 380px" />

    When looking at the home buying process, a report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said email fraud involving real estate transactions rose 1,110 percent in the years 2015 to 2017 and fraud dollars lost rose almost 2,200 percent. That means scammers are getting more efficient.

    Nearly 10,000 people reported being victims of this kind of fraud in 2017 with losses over $56 million, the FBI report said. Real estate is only now tightening its belt and fighting back.

    One Victim’s Story

    In my circles, I occasionally brush up against those whose lives are just perfect—or what most of us would consider perfect. They’ve made all the right choices, and with hard work everything lined up wonderfully. Anyway, I met a great husband and wife team, and this awesome guy is a money man. He handles investments not just for companies but for countries. That means big commissions. That means he’s a juicy target.

    This level of income also allows one to develop and feed a taste for fine art. I’m not a museum or art aficionado by any stretch, but this persons art collection was amazing. Their art of choice is called Hyperrealism. Google it. It’s paintings that look like photographs, and to us common folk it’s called “Frikin’ Awesome.” When I attended a party at this person’s home with a bunch of others, we got a quick tour. After seeing this household collection, it must have been painfully obvious by all of our jaws dropping and our stupid (but appreciative comments) that we were all out of our league.

    Anyway, money man purchased a $200,000 piece of art via email, which apparently isn’t unusual. Long story short, hackers intercepted his email communications via the hacked gallery and he wired $200,000 to a criminal. Remember, he’s in finance; finance guys are conditioned to recognize risk. When he looks back, there were slightly odd requests in the communications, but they made sense. Keep in mind, he was functioning in the security parameters in which this industry exists.

    Lucky for him, his bank flagged the transaction because the account to which the wire was being sent was brand new, and a brand new account that’s being wired $200,000 is recognized by this bank’s anomaly detection software as potential fraud.

    He called the gallery, and they concurred it was fraud. His heart sank, and he jumped into panic mode as one would when $200,000 is about to vanish. He then made every possible phone call to stop this transaction and got nowhere as 99% of the world’s population who is affected by something like this would suffer the same experience.

    His ace in the proverbial hole was because of his role in his company and his professional connection to the particular bank. After losing 10 pounds from nerves, he was able to make a personal phone call to some muckety mucks at the bank and get the whole thing fixed. I’d pull the same strings if I had them. You would too.

    How the Hack Works

    Although it’s not entirely a new concept, this is the freshest approach hackers are taking; and it targets art galleries, collectors, real estate agents and your clients. You need to put this on your radar! This is a pretty simple hack. Basically, criminals are breaking into the email accounts of the art dealers who manage high-end galleries, and then they monitor the email correspondence. Breaking in, in other words, means “logging in” because millions of email addresses and their associated passwords are in the hands of criminals due to massive data breaches.

    So, when the dealer or gallery sends an invoice to the innocent art collector via email, the hacker is triggered and will step in. The bad guy will now impersonate the dealer and warn that the invoice had a mistake on it or change up the instructions. The criminal does this to justify a wire transfer, maybe offering a slight discount, and then asks the buyer to send the money to a different account. Once the hackers have the money, the third-party hacker just disappears.

    The Victims of This Scam

    Both buyers and sellers are victims here, and in many cases, both are left in the dark because the hacker hijacks the conversation. In other words, they take control of the emails and play both parts. In the art world for example, when the gallery emails the customer, the hacker intercepts the email pretending to be that customer. The same thing happens when the customer emails the gallery. This gives the hacker plenty of time to cover their tracks and get away, and in the meantime, money and time is lost for all parties involved. There have even been some galleries that have had to close altogether due to the financial impact of account wiring and money transferring scams.

    Why Art Galleries?

    Good question. Interestingly enough, the reality is that hackers are only targeting the art industry because it’s really easy to do so. A wire fraud happening in the finance industry used to be a “thing,” but there are so many security protocols in place within finance making it difficult to pull off a transfer scam within the financial space.

    Tips to Keep Email Fraud at Bay

    These tips are for buyers, brokers, real estate agents and art galleries.

    • All email account passwords should include uppercase, lowercase, numbers and characters. Never use the same password twice—NEVER.
    • All email should have two-step authentication. This means after logging in, a one-time password is texted to the user’s mobile for account access.
    • Make sure to change all passwords for online accounts, including Wi-Fi, regularly and especially after a data breach.
    • Escrow services are your friend. There’s a ton of them. The gallery or broker will, or should, have a relationship with a trusted source.
    • Pick up the phone, and confirm every aspect of a transaction until you are blue in the face and annoying everyone involved to the point you are satisfied that the money is safe.
    • Update all of your anti-virus software.
    • When you send an invoice via email, call or text a trusted number of the recipient to double check that they got it and that they have the correct account number.
    • Urge all of your staff to remain vigilant when opening emails, and make sure that they do not click on any links or download attachments unless the correspondence has been verified by phone. If you have doubt, contact the sender by phone.

    There is so much more to this, and, while I can’t solve all the world’s problems, I can at least make you cyber-security smarter and digitally literate. Take a look at our eLearning Courses and our S.A.F.E. Certification.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    10 Tips to Not Ending Up A Dead Real Estate Agent

    Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 10:35 AM [General]
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    Yes that title is awful and yes you should be offended. Real estate agents often find themselves in dangerous situations. And for 20 years, I’ve been screaming this, doing something about it, and it keeps happening. And the real estate agents and industries response?

    Thots and prayers. Thots and prayers. Thots and prayers. Thots and prayers.

    How’s that workin’ for ya?

    Sometimes you have to visit unsafe neighborhoods, you might have to come face to face with a vicious dog, or even have an unsavory character walk right into an open house.

    In 2016, approximately 3% of all real estate agents reported that they were physically attacked when on the clock. Though this might seem like a small number, you have to consider that only about 2% of the entire population of the country are physically attacked each year. This means, of course, that if you are a real estate agent, your odds of assault are higher than the average person.

    Remember, no one is immune to this. Here’s a brief first person account posted to Facebook about a real estate agents experience…and it could even be you:

    Another reason why I like running my real estate business by referral: Went to meet a female seller today who contacted me on-line. She told me she would meet me at her property as it is an occupied rental. She was there and so were about four guys. Small, cramped house. She told me the tenant would take me around as he knew the house better than her…. immediately I knew something was off.

    He takes me around the first floor then he’s showing me upstairs and another guy who wasn’t one of the four downstairs appears out of nowhere and stands behind me. I’m now seriously freaking out as instinct told me something was about to happen. I made my excuses quick and went back downstairs. I put aside my manners and took out my phone and while chatting briefly with the seller, I text my location to my team. Then I left.

    My 5ft 100lb self would have been no match for them.

    I realized mid-way through that 10 minute tour that no-one knew where I was, I had no idea who these people were and if this woman actually was who she said she was.

    Point of the story: realtors please be extra vigilant when being in homes of strangers. I know it sounds obvious yet it’s not as we are simply doing ‘our job’ and we can’t do that if we don’t visit other people’s homes. This ended well yet it could have been a very different story for me today. Stay safe and trust your instinct.”

    The seller was a female, and the seller said that she would meet the agent at the property, as it was a rental and currently occupied. When the agent arrived, she saw the seller along with four men in a small, cramped house. The seller, herself, would not give the agent a tour of this home; instead, she said one of the tenants would take her.

    REG FLAG.

    Almost instantly, the agent knew something was weird about this. One of the men took the agent to the second floor, and before she knew it, there was another man directly behind her…and this man was NOT one of the men she had seen downstairs.

    This was a very scary situation, and though this story did not end in disaster, plenty of these situations, do. Be smart, stay vigilant, and trust your instincts when something seems off.

    Here are 10 tips that you can use to keep yourself from ending up a dead real estate agent:

    1. Research – Before you meet with a potential buyer, make sure to do a little research. This might be as simple as doing a Google search on them, or you can create a questionnaire to get information from them.
    2. Get an ID – Ask for the ID of any potential buyer/seller before showing the home. You should be able to get a photo of their ID and keep it on your phone and text it to a colleague just in case. If they refuse, this is a red flag.
    3. Show During Daylight Hours – Only show a home during daylight hours.
    4. Bring a Buddy – Do you have an assistant, friend, or family member who wants to keep you safe? Bring them along. When showing a home, try to bring a buddy. Make sure the buyer/seller knows that this other person is coming.
    5. Know What You are Going Into – Do your best to get a lay of the land when going into a home for the first time. Ask if there is anyone else in the home, too.
    6. Stay Near Exits – Make sure when you are showing a home, or being shown and home, that you always have an eye on the exit. Also, don’t go into any area, such as a basement, where someone couldn’t hear you if you had to yell for help. Unless you bring a buddy, and allow the buyer to take a look on their own, if necessary.
    7. Don’t Let Your Guard Down – Any person who walks into a home is a potential “bad guy/gal.” Don’t let your guard down, even if they seem like they are an upstanding citizen.
    8. Advertise Smartly – When advertising, make sure to do so smartly. Make sure that people know that viewing the home is by appointment only and that you will be checking their ID before showing the home.
    9. Dress Appropriately – Don’t wear any expensive jewelry when showing a home, and make sure to dress in a professional manner. Wearing clothing that is revealing, for instance, can send the wrong message.
    10. Trust Your Gut – Finally, trust your gut. If something seems wrong, it probably is.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    How to Access that Old Email Account

    Friday, February 22, 2019, 8:52 AM [General]
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    Have you ever wondered if you could access your old email accounts? You might want to look for some old files, or maybe need information about an old contact. Whatever the reason, there is good and bad news when it comes to accessing old email accounts.

    The best thing that you can do is to use the provider to find the old email account or old messages. All of the major providers, including Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL, have recovery tools available. If the email address is from a lesser player in the email game, again, you might be out of luck.

    First, Know the Protocol

    Frankly, the next 3 paragraphs might be confusing. If they don’t make sense to you jump to Do You Remember the Service or Email Address?

    The first thing you have to do is know the protocol your provider uses. There are two different protocols to consider when trying to access old messages: POP3 or IMAP.

    POP3 protocols essentially download messages from a server to a device. IMAP just syncs your messages between your device and the server. Most email services default to an IMAP protocol, but it’s very possible that an older email account would have been set up to use POP3. If this is the case, and the provider deletes the messages off the servers when downloaded via POP3, this is not good news…those messages are gone. Even if you eventually get access to these accounts, if you have downloaded the messages to a computer or smartphone, they are gone from the server.

    There is better news if you used IMAP…though, again, this is assuming nothing has been deleted. Some providers will delete accounts that are inactive for a certain amount of time. If the account is deleted, those messages are gone. Check the account deletion policy of the email provider to see if your account might still be active, and ultimately, accessible.

    Do You Remember the Service or Email Address?

    If you remember the email address and not the password, try the password reset link and if, and only if, you set up a backup email for recovery, then you’re on Golden Pond.

    Now, what happens if you can’t remember what service you used or even the email address you used? There is still hope.

    First, search for your name in the email account you use now. You might have sent something to yourself from an old account. Another option is this: if you remember the old provider, you can also search for that. You also might want to search your computer to see if there are old documents with your old email in there. You also might have set up a recovery email address or phone number that you can use to access the account.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    Make Your Mobile a Tough Target for Thieves

    Friday, February 22, 2019, 8:47 AM [General]
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    You should definitely pay attention to your mobile phone security. Most of us don’t, which makes it easy for hackers and ID thieves to target us. Here are some tips to protect yourself from becoming a target for thieves.

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    Use a Passcode

    One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are not a target for thieves is to use a passcode. All mobile phones have a built-in passcode option, and if you have an iPhone you can even set a passcode if it has been stolen by using the Find My iPhone feature.

    Use Face ID or Touch ID

    To make your iPhone even safer, you can use Face ID if you have the iPhone X or Touch ID on other iPhone versions. This is much stronger than using a passcode.

    Set up Find My iPhone

    If your iPhone gets stolen or you lose it, you can use the Find My iPhone app. This is a free app that is built into the iCloud. It uses GPS to show where your iPhone is at any time, as long as GPS is enabled. For Androids set up Find My Device to accomplish similar tasks.

    Look at Your Privacy Settings

    You should also take a look at your privacy settings. Your data is extremely important and there are threats all of the time. Fortunately, you can set your privacy settings to make it tough for people to get into it. Depending on your phone OS, seek out built in privacy, location, encryption and VPN settings.

    Should You Get Antivirus Software for Your iPhone?

    You might think that you can make your phone safer by adding antivirus software. Yes, it’s very important to have anti-virus software for your computer, but you don’t need it on your iPhone, but definitely do need it for your Android. Do a search on Google Play, there are plenty.

    Stop Jailbreaking (iPhone) or “Rooting” (Android) Your Device

    Another way to keep your phone safe is to stop jailbreaking. A lot of people like jailbreaking because it gives more freedom to customize your phone how you want. You can also download apps that Apple has not approved of. However, jailbreaking your phone can cause it to become more open to hackers, too, which could really be devastating.

    Encrypt All Backups

    When you sync your iPhone to your computer, it holds data for your as a backup. This way, if you ever need it, you can get it easily. However, this also means that this data could be open to hackers if your computer ever gets hacked. So, it’s always best to make sure that you encrypt all backups. You can do this in iTunes with only a few additional steps.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    How to Monitor a Cell Phone

    Friday, February 15, 2019, 11:11 AM [General]
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    Do you fancy yourself a spy and wondering how you can monitor someone else’s cell phone? You won’t get that information here, but there is some good info on cell phone monitoring if you keep reading:

    The Legalities of Tracking Cell Phones

    Generally, it is not legal to monitor a cell phone that does not belong to you. However, generally speaking, and THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, if the account is under your name or if you have written permission from the person who owns the phone, you can track it.

    Why Monitor a Cell Phone?

    There are some situations where it is perfectly legal, and even useful, to monitor a cell phone. One good reason is to monitor your family. This is especially the case if you have a tween or teenager who has some freedom.

    Another reason you might consider monitoring a cell phone is if you have an elderly family member, like a parent, who uses a cell phone. If your loved one has dementia, you certainly should track their phone.

    Businesses also often track company issued cell phones. The main reasons to do this is to locate a device if it is ever lost or stolen and to monitor employee communications.

    The Main Ways to Track a Cell Phone

    There are three different ways that people track cell phones:

    • Through the Cell Phone Carrier – Most major cell phone carriers offer a feature that allows a person to track a cell phone that is on their account. There is a fee for this service, it is totally legal, and it’s a great way to track family members.
    • Through a Smartphone or Computer– If you have a smart phone that runs iOS or Android, you can use features like Find My iPhone, or you can use apps like Find My Friends. Just keep in mind that the phones must have GPS enabled for these to work.
    • Though a Third-Party App – To trace a phone through an app, you usually have to have access to the phone you want to track AND own it and/or written permission from the phone’s owner. Typically, both devices must have the app loaded for these apps to work. Some of these apps are free for limited features. Others come with a one-time or monthly payment for the service.
    • Through an Infected email or Text Link – This is pretty much illegal and might get you stint in the klink. Pulling this off requires special malware or spyware which can be obtained on the dark web for a price. That will mean you’d got from being legal to the seedy world of Blackhats. And as they say, once you go black, you never go back. You would then officially be a criminal.

    In most cases, it is not legal to trace or track a cell phone unless you have permission from the owner. However, each state has their own laws, so it’s very important that you understand the laws in the state you live. This way, you can avoid any repercussions.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    The Top Cyber Security Threats to Real Estate Companies

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 10:56 AM [General]
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    Gone are the days when hackers would only target retailers. These days, the bad guys an target businesses in any industry, especially those that aren’t quite up on cyber security.

    The real estate industry is one such group, and according to a recent survey, about half of businesses in the real estate industry are not prepared to handle a cyberattack. Federal law requires some industries, like hospitals and banks, to have some type of security in place for things like that, but the real estate industry is quite vulnerable. Here are some of the threats you should look out for if you’re in the real estate industry:

    Business Email Compromise (BEC)

    A BEC, or business email compromise, is a type of cyberattack that tricks a business into wiring money to a criminal’s bank account. The hackers do this by spoofing email addresses and sending fake messages that seem like they are from a trusted business professional, such as the CEO or a company attorney. The FBI has found that multi-billions in business losses can be attributed to BEC.

    That’s scary enough, but the FBI also says that real estate companies are specially targeted in these attacks and every participant in the real estate transaction is a possible victim.

    Mortgage Closing Wire Scam

    Prior to closing on the sale of a home, the buyer receives an email from their real estate agent, title attorney or other trusted service professional with specific details of the time, date and location of the closing. In this same email, there are detailed and urgent instructions on how to wire money for the down payment but to a criminal’s bank account. Within moments of the wire transfer, the money is withdrawn, and the cash disappears.

    A report by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center totals the number of victims of the mortgage closing wire scam ballooned to 10,000 victims, an 1,110 percent increase in the years 2015 to 2017 with financial losses totaling over $56 million, which is a 2,200 percent increase.

    Ransomware

    Another threat to real estate companies is ransomware. This is the type of malware that makes the data on your device or network unavailable until you pay a ransom. This is very profitable for hackers, of course, and it is becoming more and more popular. All it takes is one member of your team clicking on a link in an email, and all of your data could be locked.

    Ransomware doesn’t just target computers though. It can target any device that is connected to the internet including smart locks, smart thermostats and even smart lights, which are gaining a lot of popularity in American homes. When digital devices get infected with ransomware, they will fail to work.

    Generic Malware

    Though most people hear about ransomware these days, there are other types of malware out there that hackers use, too. For instance, you have probably heard of Trojans a.k.a. Spyware or Malware, which is very much still around. These can be used by cybercriminals to spy on their victims and get a person’s banking information or even wipe out their accounts. Malware can also be used to steal personal information and even employee information, such as client data, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. Again, real estate companies are not exempt from this type of attack and are now even bigger targets.

    Cloud Computing Providers

    If you are part of the real estate industry, your business is also at risk of becoming a victim thanks to cloud computing, which is more economical these days. A cyber thief doesn’t have to hack into a company to get its data; all they need to do instead is target the company’s cloud provider.

    It might seem that by using a cloud company you are lowering the risk of your business becoming a target, but the truth is, the risk still lies with your company, how secure your own devices are and how effective passwords are managed. In most contracts with cloud computing companies, the customer, which would be your business, is not well-protected in the case of a cyberattack.

    Protecting Your Real Estate Company from Becoming a Victim of a Cyberattack

    Now that you know your real estate company is a potential target of cybercriminals, you might be wondering what you can do to mitigate this risk. Here are some tips:

    • Create New Policies – One of the things you can do is to develop new policies in your agency. For example, in the case of BEC scams, if you have a policy that you never wire money to someone based only on information given via email, you won’t have to worry about becoming victimized in this type of scam. Instead, you should talk to the person sending the email in person or via a phone call just to confirm. Make sure, however, that you don’t call a number from the suspicious email, as this could put you right in touch with the scammer.
    • Train Your Staff – Another thing that you should consider is better staff training. Most hacking attempts come via email, so by training your staff not to blindly open attachments or click on any links in emails, you could certainly save your staff from these scams. Check out our S.A.F.E. Secure Agent for Everyone Certification Designation course, which is a marketing differentiator that offers ideas and methods to promote proactive strategies to ensure incident-free results. Learn how to develop client-centered procedures customized for safety and security.
    • Train Your Clients – Mortgage closing wire fraud scams can be manageable if not preventable. Inform your clients that in the process of buying or selling a home, there will be many emails to and from your real estate agent and other service professionals including your attorney, mortgage broker, insurance companies and home inspector. Tell them: Call Your Agent: Under no circumstances and at no time in this process should the client or service professional engage in a money wire transfer unless the client specifically speaks to the real estate agent in person or over the phone to confirm the legitimacy of the money wire transaction. Email Disclosure: Clients should always look for language in the real estate agent’s email communications stating the above or a similar facsimile.
    • Back Up Your Systems – It is also very important that you always back up everything. This way, if your system does get hacked, you won’t have to pay a ransom, and you will be able to quickly restore everything that you need.
    • Better Your Cloud Computing Contracts – Since you know that cloud providers don’t really like to take on the responsibility in the case of a cyberattack, you might want to start negotiating with the company in question about what you can do about that. This might include getting better security or adding some type of notification requirements.
    • Consider Cyber-Liability Insurance – You also have the ability to get cyberliability insurance. This could really help you to cut the risk to your real estate business. There are all types of policies out there so make sure to do your research, or better yet, speak to a pro about what you might need.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

    How to Block Spammy Scammy Telemarketing Calls

    Thursday, January 24, 2019, 1:03 PM [General]
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    Are you getting a lot of scammy, spammy telemarketing calls? If you are, you know how annoying they can here. Fortunately, there are some apps out there that can help. Here are a few worth looking into:

    CallApp

    You can use CallApp to lookup numbers, and then decide if you want to answer it or not. It collects data from users, and then gives you this information when a call comes in. You can get CallApp Crawler for Android phones.

    Call Control

    This app offers reverse look up, call blocking, and it can even blacklist any unwanted texts, too. It is very easy to use, and it relies on the community to collect spam numbers and submit them to the company. You can get Call Control on iOS and Android phones.

    Calls Blacklist

    You can use Calls Blacklist to block calls, but there are also other features like scheduling ability or filtering by number prefix. This means you can block numbers that start with a certain combination of numbers, i.e. 803. This app is only available for those with Android phones.

    Hiya

    Hiya used to be just a reverse look up method, but now it also blocks calls and offers caller ID. This app has access to more than three billion records, but like TrueCaller, your number also goes onto that list. You can get Hiya for both iPhone and Android phones.

    Norton Mobile Security

    Norton Mobile Security is not necessarily a call blocking app. Instead, it’s a security app that has call blocking as one of its features. This app is perfect for anyone who wants a full security suite on their mobile phone. You can get this app for both iOS and Android.

    Safest Call Blocker 

    Though Safest Call Blocker is simple, it is quite effective at blocking any unwanted numbers coming from robots or telemarketers. Currently, this app is only available for those who use an Android phone.

    Should I Answer?

    This app blocks calls, looks up numbers, and then categorizes them for easy filtering. It tracks about 500,000 numbers and is available for both iPhone and Android.

    TrueCaller

    TrueCaller is a popular app, and it holds more than two billion phone numbers. This makes it great at identifying a spammy number. The one caveat of TrueCaller is that it adds your number to the list of numbers it tracks. You can get it for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry.

    Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.


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