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4 ways agents can strengthen their social media security

By Zarah Torrazo
28 April 2023 | 11 minute read
Nic Fren reb

Real estate agents are urged to practise “extra vigilance” when it comes to managing their social media profiles, with an expert warning to brace for a rise in cyber attacks. 

Bespoke Media’s chief executive, Nic Fren, stated the number of agents reporting cyber security concerns and incidents is rising, noting their firm is “getting more calls for assistance than ever before”. 

He explained the latest Shein gift card scam has caused the number of calls they’re receiving to go from “one or two calls per week to around five to 10 per day.” 

At the end of March, digital security company Avast reported detecting a scam that lures Australian Instagram users with the “promise” of a $500 gift card from global fast-fashion giant Shein.

Afterwards, the user is directed to a third-party website where they must fill in their details and pay a $2 fee to redeem their “win”. However, the gift card does not exist, and victims are unknowingly signing up for a subscription that debits their card for $69 every two weeks with no return.

While Mr Fren described the latest social media platform con as “annoying” and more of a “nuisance”, he cautioned that “more cyber attacks are on the way” as scammers get smarter. 

Particularly, he warned that the real estate industry is increasingly becoming the target of cyber attacks and scams over the past 12 months, with the expert noting many agents or companies are “running the risk of having their accounts hacked and/or lost forever” if their accounts aren’t fully protected.

“Sadly, for the majority of cases I’m seeing, they are from those who don’t understand social media and have simply been assigned the tasks to post and boost,” he said. 

Mr. Fren expressed he is particularly concerned about this specific vulnerability in firms’ cyber security hygiene. 

“This is where I fear many more will continue to fall victim. Sadly, nine times out of 10, once they get to us, there’s very little we can do.” 

So, what can an agent do right now to protect their accounts? According to Mr Fren, there are five ways agents can strengthen their social media security:

1. Enable two-factor authentication

According to Mr Fren, one of the most effective ways for agents to protect their social media accounts is to enable two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security to an agent’s social media account by requiring a unique code to be entered alongside the login credentials.

“This code is usually sent to the agent’s mobile device, making it harder for hackers to access their account,” he explained.

2. Set accounts to private

Mr Fren advised agents to temporarily make their social media profiles private to prevent unauthorised users from accessing and potentially compromising their accounts.  

“This helps to prevent bots and other unauthorised users from accessing and potentially compromising the agent’s account,” he said. 

To  further increase security measures, Mr Fren suggests agents ensure their social media accounts are completely to private, limiting access only to authorised users. 

“This measure helps to reduce the risk of cyber attacks, as well as the amount of personal information that is publicly visible”, the expert said. 

4. Create a professional account separate from your personal one

Creating private accounts or separate professional accounts can limit the amount of personal information visible to the public, according to Mr Fren, which reduces the risk of identity theft and other forms of cyber crime.

5. Be cautious when clicking on links or responding to messages

Mr Fren advises agents to exercise caution when clicking on links or responding to messages, especially those from unknown sources. 

“These could be phishing attempts or malware that could infect their device and compromise their social media account,” he said.

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