Industry NewsTechnology

Internet crimes put real estate companies at risk

New laws, computer attacks make consumer privacy everyone's problem

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SAN FRANCISCO–Zachary Keith Hill, 20, was sentenced to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding customers of America Online and PayPal in an elaborate online phishing scheme. Phishing scams are among the top consumer privacy and identity theft concerns the Federal Trade Commission will pursue this year. Phishing occurs when fraudsters masquerade as legitimate companies to trick consumers into handing over their personal and financial account information. So far, financial service companies and their consumers have been targeted the most. The surge in these types of scams, increased vulnerability of computers to viruses and attacks, and new consumer privacy legislation all contribute to real estate companies' need to heighten their awareness of security issues and tighten their preventative security methods. Howard Beales, FTC's director of consumer protection, outlined the agency's initiatives to address consumer privacy concerns during a conference here this ...