Most consumers are comfortable with their security when banking or shopping online, but house hunting should take your online security to another level.
With 90% of buyers taking to the Internet to search for homes last year, online security experts warn homebuyers that cybercriminals are ready and waiting to take advantage.
“People who are looking for a home have money and criminals are out there watching,” says Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of the global research and analysis team of Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus and security software company in Quito, Ecuador. “It’s like walking around a minefield. Buyers need to take steps to protect their information from identity theft and their computer from viruses.”
Spammers can set up fake websites to capture personal information. The sites are designed to look like legitimate bank or property listing websites.
Start by searching for homes on reputable, well-known websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com.
“People put a lot of trust into the Web but the reality is there’s a bad guy around every corner,” says Robert Siciliano, a personal-security and identity-theft expert in Boston.
Here are seven ways to protect yourself.