Using Technology to Mitigate the Risk of Criminal Activity in Real Estate Arena

Criminal activity is always prevalent, however when tough economic times start impacting consumers, theft and fraud are likely to increase. South Africa is certainly no exception to this and over the last while we’ve seen various industries targeted by sophisticated fraud syndicates leaving a blazing trail of damages. Sectors that deal in high value assets like motor and real estate industries are at risk of being targeted by sophisticated fraudsters.

In the modern day realm of technology, fraud has become faceless, with criminals protected by computer screens and mobiles. Fraud tactics have elevated and efforts to detect and mitigate suspect transactions have become harder. Estate agents are in the firing line as a telephone call to request viewing a property for rent or purchase progresses to a meet and greet with a person that they don’t know. How can they be sure that a potential buyer is not a criminal wanting easy access to the household items?

Last year, an estate agent fell victim to a violent episode when she arranged to meet a man interested in buying a flat in Meyersdal. She survived battered and bruised and without her possessions and vehicle. Like this incident reported in the Comaro Chronicle News, there have been many more.

TransUnion 1Check offers a sense of comfort in enabling estate agents to verify the identity of a person before agreeing to a property viewing. The fraud verification feature looks for irregularities and detects levels of suspicious data in consumer’s credit applications. Manually inputting the potential viewers ID number will verify the person, and alert the agent to fraud risk via a score rating. 1Check leverages the power of the TransUnion database of over 19 million consumer records to give an accurate view of the risk associated with a potential customers.

By utilising this fraud verification feature, estate agents are now able to make an ‘on-the-spot’ decision about the customer, enabling the correct approach and strategy to be applied to the situation i.e. notifying a complex security guard and asking him to accompany you to the house, or taking along another colleague.

A rise in fraudulent activity should not mean that you close our doors on potential customers, by employing the right strategy based on informed decisions you can continue to trade safely.