The news last week that cyber outlaws are sneaking into agent email accounts and duping homebuyers into wiring money to illicit bank accounts screams out for industry action to verify the parties in a home transaction. Suddenly, it is evident that the industry is not keeping up with cyber thugs and must move quickly to create a safe digital real estate system. Secure transactions are way behind agent and consumer adoption of Internet tools and platforms. Trade group and regulatory warnings about scams are not enough. The industry still relies on antiquated systems for authenticating buyers, sellers and property, and on insecure modes of communication like the phone, fax, paper and email. This arcane process creates a dream come true for criminal hackers. Plus, the issue of unverified customers underlies the personal safety problem for agents, who put themselves at risk because they do not know who they are dealing with when they respond to leads. This problem can be...
- Blockchain authenticates participants, verifying everyone's identity -- buyer, renter, seller and the property.
- One app is using blockchain to help smooth the subleasing process when rental tenants must move on, verifying the property, new and old tenants.
- Blockchain can make the industry safer for agents by verifying and qualifying buyers before they meet with an agent, and it can also protect consumers from fraud.
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