MReport November 2017

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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TH E M R EP O RT | 13 P hishing. Malware. DoS. While these were once terms only IT professionals needed to know, in today's increasingly digital world—where a company's or a con- sumer's most vital information can be comprised by simply clicking the wrong email link—we can no longer afford to be in the dark in regards to data threats. In a July report, Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) found that the number of U.S. data breach- es during the first half of 2017 reached 791. If data breaches keep happening at this same pace, we will experience 1,500 breaches by the close of the year— a 37 percent increase over 2016, ITRC reports. While in 98 percent of cases it takes but a mat - ter of seconds to minutes for data to be compro- mised (according to Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report), once it is released there is often no expiration date to it being used mali- ciously. When a credit card is stolen, a consumer can shred the card, request a new number, or close the account entirely. However, when hackers gain access to personal identification info such as full legal names paired with Social Security numbers and dates of birth, a consumer can be impacted by the repercussions for life. "When it comes to data breaches such as Equifax, the threat doesn't go away with time," said Dan Jones, VP of Technology & Sales Support at Churchill Mortgage. "Literally in 10 years, someone could buy that list again and try to take out a mortgage or even attempt a HELOC in someone else's name." "It's quite possible that we are entering a new period of criminal fraud activity in this indus - try," said Todd Hougaard, a Software Product Manager at Mortgage Cadence, an Accenture Company. "If we are forced to assume that bad actors now have sensitive financial information for most consumers and that these criminals are experts at manufacturing fake online identities based on this new information, what additional protections are going to be required?" With little redress available once data has been breached, the adage "the best offense is a good defense" should become the motto of mortgage professionals today. Those who formulate today's data-compromising strategies are savvy and those strategies are coming from all directions. The only way to combat these strategies is to understand where the true threats lie. By Rachel Williams

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