June 10, 2019 | Phil Aitken
First American Financial Corp. recently and accidentally exposed nearly 900 million mortgage-related documents due to a website design flaw.   These confidential documents included bank account numbers and statements, social security numbers and images of driver's licenses as well as other personal info.  Needless to say, homebuyers are a bit edgy regarding whom they may trust in regards to title insurance.

Although First American states that this info was "leaked" and that the appropriate measures have been taken in order to quickly and effectively rectify the situation, the question stands: "How can homebuyers be certain that their finances and personal information will be protected?"

The truth is that a breach of info can occur at any place and any time regardless of security and proactive measures. There are, however, three steps you may take in order to better protect your information:

1. - Clean your cyber house.

Enable two-factor authentication with private documents, especially during the home buying/selling process. In addition, sign up for credit monitoring or an alternate theft protection plan. Change passwords regularly and make sure they include at least one upper and one lower case letter, a symbol and at least one number. In other words, don't use important dates or your address.

2. - Ask questions.

As a home buyer or seller, you will be working with various companies in order to complete your real estate transaction. It is important to ask each professional how they intend to protect your info. Every company has its own set of policies when it comes to cybersecurity and not everyone maintains the same level of accountability or federal involvement. Inquire as to whether info is stored, encrypted, etc.

3. - Avoid email.

While it is true that email is supposed to make like easier and significantly expedite the sending and receiving of documents, it is not always a good idea to utilize your hotmail account for sensitive info. In fact, most wire-fraud occurs due to hacked email accounts. If at all possible, attempt to hand deliver documents as much as possible. If that is not an option, consider employing a secure online portal rather than basic email.

Related: "A Senior Guide to House Hunting in Jacksonville"
                    "No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal"


For more information, contact The Aitken Home Team today!

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