How Do I Keep My Data Private During A Real Estate Transaction?

You can’t always keep yourself safe when you are using the internet. Unfortunately due to the rise in online financial transactions and shopping people’s data has never been more at risk. On a daily basis, consumers all over the world are targeted and scammed; if you are somebody who regularly uses the internet for transactions then you need to do everything you can to keep yourself safe. One type of transaction that is highly risky is a real estate transfer. Such transfers often involve huge sums of money being moved from person to person.

Individuals interested in handling realty transactions over the internet can protect themselves as long as they take the steps that will be outlined here in this post. Protective measures can prevent people’s data from falling into the wrong hands. The reason you need to protect your data is that it can be used by cybercriminals to commit acts of fraud. Armed with your personal and financial information criminals can impersonate you on the internet, make purchases in your name and even siphon money directly from your bank account.

This post will tell you how you can keep your data safe:

How to Keep Data Private During A Real Estate

Carefully Selecting Realty Platforms

As mentioned in this post’s introduction, criminals can use your data to commit acts of fraud. Unless you do everything you can to protect your data it could end up falling into their hands. However, criminals aren’t the only people you need to worry about. Marketers can be just as troublesome as criminals can. Some realty platforms have been caught selling customer information to marketers, most notably Zillow. You need to find a reliable platform to perform a protected real estate search on. Ideally, the platform you use should safeguard your data and never sell it. You can find out whether or not the platform you have chosen to use protects your data by reading its data privacy page, which can usually be found on a website’s footer page; if you have any questions about how a platform handles customer data you can ask them directly via email or over the phone.

Researching Unsafe Realty Sites

In order for you to find a safe realty platform you must first conduct extensive research. Fortunately, online research has never been easier; search engines have done everything they can to ensure consumers are able to conduct extensive, comprehensive searches in seconds. Once you have found a site that you want to use make sure that you read its reviews. A website’s reviews can tell you everything you need to know about it. Bear in mind that some sites do not have reviews and in most cases that is a good sign. An absence of reviews just means that users of a site have nothing to write about it, positively or negatively. When you consider that the vast majority of people only ever leave reviews after bad experiences it becomes clear why an absence of reviews is in fact a good sign.

Using a Virtual Private Network

You can’t understate the advantages of using virtual private networks or VPNs as they are more commonly called. VPNs are programs that conceal your IP address, preventing people from being able to track your online movements. If somebody’s tracking you whilst you are making a real estate transaction they could in theory intercept the payment and reroute it to a bank account of their own. Transfer interceptions are becoming a lot more common on the internet as individuals handling transfers tend not to use VPNs. You can download and use VPNs for free although it’s best to buy a paid subscription as you get access to a greater number of servers when you do this. It is especially important to use a VPN if you are using a public Wi-Fi network to send or receive money for reasons that will be expanded upon in the next section.

Using Free Wi-Fi Cautiously

Right now there is a cost of living crisis that makes bare essentials like Wi-Fi unaffordable for average working people. If you are one such individual then it’s highly likely that you have canceled your subscription and are using public Wi-Fi networks. However, when you use a public Wi-Fi network to process a real estate transaction there is a slight chance somebody could be tracking and watching you. Individuals who hack into public Wi-Fi networks are able to view all of the personal data of the network’s users. As such your data could easily be stolen and your transaction rerouted. When you use a VPN in combination with a public Wi-Fi network hackers aren’t able to track you and cannot, therefore, steal your money or data. You can add an extra layer of protection to your transactions by downloading and using a firewall. Firewalls repel hack attempts.

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Hiring a Trained Conveyancer

Conveyancers are essentially just attorneys that specialize in real estate transactions. In most places conveyancers are a legal requirement; until one has been hired individuals cannot transfer property. Conveyancers oversee financial transactions, ensuring contracts are signed according to law and that property is transferred at the same time that money used to buy it is. Hiring a conveyancer is one of the best things that you can do if you want to keep yourself safe on the internet and prevent people from being able to steal your data. Conveyancers know about all the best ways to safeguard people’s personal information and do everything they can to ensure that money is transferred safely. If a conveyancer does make a mistake transferring your money they will be legally required to pay it back. As conveyancers are insured for this kind of thing you won’t have to fight hard to get your money back. If you lost money handling a realty transaction on your own there would be no way for you to get your money back.

Downloading Links and Attachments

Basic online security can help keep your personal information and data safe too. For example, it’s common for viruses to be downloaded to people’s personal computers when they open unsolicited emails and click links and attachments. While it’s unlikely an email hiding viruses is going to arrive at the same time you are sending or receiving money, if you already have viruses on your computer then they’ll give the hacker who sent them the ability to intercept payments. Protect yourself by downloading a firewall and scanning unsolicited emails. In addition to scanning them, make sure that you do not download links or attachments sent to you from individuals or companies with whom you are unfamiliar; most email servers will tell you if an email has links or attachments in it which gives you the opportunity to completely avoid opening ones that look unsafe.

Verifying Bank Details First

Before sending or receiving money make sure that you verify the sender’s or recipient’s details. Until you are 100% sure that the account details you have are the correct ones it is unwise to send money. If you accidentally send money to the wrong account there is no guarantee that your bank will be able to recall it and get you your money back. This is especially true if you are sending it internationally. It is very difficult to recall international wire transfers; you may not have any legal entitlement to get your money returned if it goes to the wrong place, so verify payment details first.

Ensure Contracts Are Signed

Before you send money make sure that the real estate contracts have been signed and that the property you’re buying is legally yours. If you do not verify that the contracts have been signed first then you could end up sending money even though you aren’t the legal owner of the property that you are buying. The easiest way to ensure that contracts are signed properly when you are buying a house is to hire a conveyancer, as mentioned earlier. A conveyancer will look through all of the documents that accompany the transfer and make sure it’s in order. If anything has not been signed or completed properly, they will bring a halt to the transaction. It is also worth noting that conveyancers hold the money for their clients so only release it once they are satisfied the contracts have been signed properly.

Screen Record Transactions

If you are able to then screen record online realty transactions. Doing so will help you to prove it was not your fault if anything goes wrong on the other person’s end. Before you start screen recording a transaction you need to make sure that it is legal for you to do so. Recording transactions when it is not legal can get you into a lot of trouble. It’s not worth getting arrested over a transaction you shouldn’t have been recording in the first place. Screen recording transactions is a simple and effective way of ensuring that they go to plan as long as you’re allowed to. Make sure that you tell all parties involved in a transaction that you are going to be recording them before you start. Recording people without their permission could get you into further trouble or annoy them. You should always be on good terms with clients and colleagues so do not do anything to irritate them.

You don’t have to be an expert in cybersecurity to keep yourself safe when you are sending or receiving large amounts of money. While the average person has no idea whatsoever how to protect themselves online guides like this one provide all of the information they could ever need to know. When you are sending money, take this post’s guidance and incorporate the ideas and strategies listed here into your plan so that you can avoid becoming the victim of fraud.

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