Safeguards Save Time & Money In Real Estate
Today the potential for fraud involving real estate transactions may be more prevalent than what consumers may think. Forgery, fraud and identity theft crimes are at an all time high. By implementing some simple safe guards and additional security measures both consumers and real estate professionals may alleviate some of these risks. The growing number of cases involving identity theft, fraud, and forgery are related to the increasing number of private records available to the public today. It is impossible for the real estate community to be immune from the hi-tech crime epidemic.
Locally the Multiple Listing Service increased database security levels by providing to subscribers a RSA® security device to be utilized in addition to the standard user name and passwords when accessing their site. Realtors®, brokers, title companies and the real estate data furnishing companies have a responsibility to upgrade their security measures to safeguard consumers as well.
Surprisingly, few real estate professionals ask consumers for photo identification. Just as disturbing is how few title companies verify a real estate professional’s license. Verifying a person’s identity and the professional’s license are the first steps towards preventing identity theft and fraud. These security measures indicated below are safeguards to help protect real estate professionals and consumers. By implementing these three simple safety measures the real estate professional and consumer are working together to prevent crime.
1. Verify the identity of all prospects. When a real estate professional or consumer shows their home to a prospect the parties should provide photo identification for security purposes. It is also recommended that the prospects sign a written log such as a guest book. This record should be kept by the seller or the seller’s real estate agent. Identifying the prospects will provide additional security and privacy protection for the seller.
2. Verify the real estate professional’s license. The real estate professional’s license should be verified by the consumer and the escrow company providing settlement services. According to the California Association of Realtors® the numbers of transactions involving unlicensed persons posing as a licensed real estate professional rising. Verifying the real estate professionals’ license will save consumers valuable time and money.
3. Included within the closing documents should be copies of the signors photo identification. This added safety measure is an additional safeguard for the protection of both the consumer as well as the real estate professional if later a claim of fraud or forgery arises.