The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released an announcement reporting that the Real Estate Fraud Prevention Coalition is launching an active campaign to officially declare October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month in America.
In collaboration with partners from the federal, state, and local branches of the government, the coalition aims to—throughout the month of October—focus on using this time to increase public awareness and understanding about the prevalent risks associated with cybersecurity. They also aim to empower consumers by providing them with useful tools and resources to use while surfing the net to ensure that they can stay safe.
According to the report, the official them for this October is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Regarding this endeavor, NAR President Vince Malta is clearly in full support of educating the public about how to stay safe online: “Wire fraud is one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes in the U.S., and consumers need to understand the risks that exist within every real estate transaction.”
Malta added: “As Realtors, we have a critical role to play in educating and protecting both home buyers and sellers, and NAR is exploring every possible opportunity to defend against cybercrimes targeting American citizens.”
Among the resources that the Real Estate Fraud Prevention Coalition has prepared for consumers to enable them to better protect their data and sensitive information is a list of tips and tools to help reduce cyber incidents. This list will apparently be posted on each of the participating associations’ websites, as well as at stopwirefraud.org/protect-your-money/.
Now, it seems as if cybersecurity is more important than ever, as the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported receiving 467,361 complaints last year. This averages out to a staggering 1,300 complaints per day. Also shocking is the fact that the center also recorded more than $3.5 billion in total losses due to cybersecurity-related theft. And now, since the arrival of the pandemic, it appears that the coronavirus has ushered in a whole new influx of worldwide cybersecurity concerns. Specifically, the amount of registered fraudulent emails and text messages were reported as having jumped an astonishing by 700% post-pandemic.