BOSTON (November 5, 2018) — Realtors® discussed the risks of real estate fraud and approaches to avoid falling victim to scams in the marketplace at the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston. The forum, officially titled, “Defending against the Data Breach: Protect from Spyware, Malware, Ransomware & Keyloggers,” was led by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Safr.Me, who presented a host of tips on how Realtors® can stay safe from data breaches.

“Every few seconds, someone's identity is stolen because data is breached, computers are hacked, or credit cards are compromised. As a result, businesses and reputations are experiencing security risks many are not prepared for. The system we function under, combined with the conveniences of technology, can be easily flawed by simple scams,” Siciliano said.

During the session, Siciliano highlighted several red flags real estate professionals should keep in mind during a transaction, along with steps agents can take to ensure transactions are secure.

Attendees addressed mortgage and real estate fraud as one of the most profitable of all organized criminal acts. “With buyers, sellers, mortgage brokers, banks, appraisers, housing inspectors and real estate agents in the mix, a combination of these parties working together on a transaction can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to innocent parties,” Siciliano said.

“NAR is currently in talks with the real estate industry and the federal government to deploy a ground breaking industry approach to prevent real estate fraud. NAR is providing tools and resources for Realtors® to ensure the data of their clients is protected,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.

During the session, he shared that the most critical step to changing consumer behavior is to build a secure-minded culture from the ground up. “To create this culture, Realtors® need to be educated and tested on security threats and how their day-to-day computer use behavior can affect their client’s and organization’s security posture,” Siciliano said.

“The issue of data security is becoming more and more serious every day. Realtors® are helping clients identify potential cybersecurity threats during the real estate transaction as the relationship makes consumers susceptible to fraud schemes,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty.

For more information on the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, visit .

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.