September 2023

Is your smartphone secure? 8 tips to keep it safe.

What would we do without our smartphones? They make doing business on the go so much easier. But the more you use your phone for business, the more critical it is that you take steps to keep it safe from hackers, scammers and more. Here are some tips to help make sure your data — and your clients' data — is safe.

Keep your software up to date.

Be on the watch for software updates and install them as soon as possible. They often include security fixes that can protect you from viruses and other online threats.

Lock your phone when you're not using it.

Always set up a password or facial identification to keep others from using your phone. Be sure to use a strong password that's hard to guess. Including letters, numbers and special characters is a good tactic.

Back up your data.

Your phone may contain everything from client contact information to pictures of your last vacation. Don't risk losing any of it.

Avoid public Wi-Fi.

Public networks are not secure, so if you need to access the internet, use a mobile hotspot or virtual private network (VPN).

Watch for scams.

Scam texts, calls and emails are more and more common. Never click on links in suspicious texts or emails, and never give out personal or client information to an unverified caller. When you get this type of communication, be sure to block senders.

Physically secure the phone.

Never leave your phone, laptop or tablet in an unlocked car. You should also be careful to secure devices during open houses. Keep your phone in your hand or pocket, never leave it lying around.

Use secure apps to manage documents.

Always use an app like Docusign for sending and receiving client documents. If needed, educate your clients about the risks of sending documents or personal information in email or texts.

Be on the lookout for these types of cyberattacks:Footnote1

  • Business email compromise. The goal of this fraud is to mislead you into wiring money to an alternate bank account rather than to a legitimate colleague by spoofing a business associate's email address and substituting the hacker's bank account number.
  • Ransomware. This is malicious software that's installed onto your computer or network by tricking you into clicking on an email link. You then lose access to data until you pay a ransom.
  • Spyware. This type of malware is also initiated by clicking on a bogus email link, but the purpose is to spy on your real estate activity. This may lead to hackers reading, stealing or even wiping out data, correspondence, transactions and banking credentials.
  • Mortgage closing wire scam. Criminals send an email — allegedly from you, their attorney or other trusted advisor — with closing details and instructions for wiring the down payment to their own account.

A final thought:

The best way to safeguard your phone is to educate yourself and take action BEFORE something unfortunate happens. We hope these tips help!

A note from your lending specialist

As your local lending specialist, my goal is to help make sure your clients' purchase goes smoothly. For more cybersecurity tips, visit the Bank of America Security Center.

1 The Top Cyber Security Threats to Real Estate Companies. Robert Siciliano, Finextra, 12 February 2019. Accessed June 2023.

MAP5821959 | 08/2023

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