Many consumers express fears they may become victims of identity theft. REALTORS® often deal with their clients’ personal info which may include social security numbers, historical information (like maiden names and previous addresses) and even financial information like tax returns. While this information is normally securely held, agents and brokers who rely on mobile technology may have a critical weakness in their practices.  This same weakness may spell trouble for you, too!

To stay competitive, many REALTORS® are using laptops, tablets and smart phone to help manage their businesses remotely. All of these devices offer users the option to lock the device automatically when accessed.  Are you using a password or other lock screen protection? Do you have device wipe applications enabled on your tablet or smart phone?

Consider that your smart device may not only store sensitive documents in cloud storage or as email attachments, but also stays logged in full-time to your email account. Even if there are no sensitive documents on your smart phone or tablet, this open email path makes it very simple for an intruder to reset passwords and access all of your financial accounts.

A critical element in protecting your clients’ information, and your own, is to establish login controls for all remote devices. Passwords, PINs or patterns should be complex enough to defeat a casual intruder. In addition, any device you carry around should have technology enabled that allows you to erase the data and render the device useless if lost or stolen.

This may sound drastic, but it beats hoping that your missing phone, tablet or charger simply turns up. A side benefit of installing and maintaining remote-wipe software is that most types include options for locating the missing device via built-in GPS. While we can’t list all of your options, iPhone and iPad users have built-in protection from iCloud, and a popular Android app is Where’s My Droid.

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