- Instances of wire fraud and data theft are growing throughout the digital real estate landscape.
- Amitree's new feature for Folio alerts agents via text when emails are sent with financial information.
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I bought a house last month. It was not fun.
It was a high-pressure, sign-on-the-fly, crossed-finger affair that I hope no one has the displeasure of experiencing.
Documents streamed on and off my iPhone screen like trending Twitter mentions, and I was signing everything that SkySlope indicated I needed to sign.
(I can’t imagine what a busy agent is going through, when that process is multiplied by five, or ten transactions.)
If there was ever an opportunity for a fraudster to find a crack in the system, it’s during this type of deal. Fast-paced and high-dollar.
Folio is a slick software product by Amitree that helps agents better manage transactions like this via Gmail. In moments, it assembles and organizes messages according to common dates, terms and people.
Its timeline tool provides immense value; the list of critical dates are listed on a separate webpage that offers a sharp, intuitive way to add, edit, share and notate what’s happening next. A page like this is created automatically for every deal in your inbox.
I was psyched to learn that this useful tool for agents has just launched an update to alleviate risk of fraudulent activity surrounding deposits and wire transfers.
Email wasn’t designed to manage projects. However, we all use it that way: We save documents, we create folders and we use search functions to find people. It’s safe to assume that there’s a lot of critical, financially sensitive data floating around the ether of our inboxes.
Wherever there is loosely secured financial data, there are criminals.
Folio’s new fraud-detection assistant alerts agents on a separate platform via text when any message sent or received to and from their registered email account contains terms related to money, specifically as they relate to deposits and wire transfer discussions.
The new security feature is a smart, natural extension of Folio’s native functionality, which leverages machine learning to endlessly analyze email content to quickly connect and organize related messages.
I called Paul Knegten, Amitree’s co-founder and COO, to chat more about the update, because I believe the kind of criminal activity being addressed is still far from its precipice. It’s going to become a big deal.
“We did a bunch of testing on a broad set of key terms and phrases, and it will get smarter over time. For example, if we send too many alerts, how can we hone that? It will get better,” he said.
I compared the effort of the entire cyber-criminal prevention collective (FBI, CIA, software products, etc.) to a small child dragging on the shirt-tails of an older, dominate sibling running to the end zone. It’s annoying and marginally effective, but the touchdown is inevitable. Someone’s going to lose.
“That’s an apt analogy,” Knegten said.
Knegten says his software’s update won’t prevent all forms of fraud, because nothing can.
“We want to give agents one more tool to combat what’s going on out there,” he said.
And there’s a lot going on out there.