WESTprotect.com, a new cybersecurity service created by WEST, a Williston Financial Group company, is now available on demand, with self-service, subscription-based access, to help title agents, real estate professionals and lenders protect themselves from email fraud and other cybercrime, all of which have seen dramatic increases during the COVID pandemic and the shift to remote working.
The industry’s only cybersecurity help desk, WESTprotect analyzes suspicious emails and reports back its findings to the submitter within one hour. In addition to the paid service, WESTprotect also offers free SAFE Fraud Alerts, Cyber News, and access to “The 411” blog. Visitors may also sign up to access SAFE Tips Sheets of how to keep Cyber Safe.
WEST’s senior vice president and chief information security officer Bruce Phillips said that in the case of malicious emails, the company guides users through steps to address the problem, including what to do if they clicked on a malicious link.
Subscribers now also have access to cybersecurity training and phishing simulators that are customized for each real estate, mortgage or title company.
The in-house cybersecurity system was created in collaboration with Patrick Stone, WFG’s Founder and Executive Chairman, and Phillips to shield WFG National Title Insurance Company agencies, who are increasingly under attack from mail fraud and other malicious internet activity.
“There are reasons why we’re seeing this increase and why the risks are so much higher in our industry,” Phillips said. “Wire fraud is the biggest threat to mortgage and real estate companies because they can lose the most money in the shortest amount of time.”
WESTprotect arrives as the research shows the increasing seriousness of the problem. The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network found that consumers had reported losing $1.9 billion to fraud in 2019. More recently, FundingShield discovered fraud and risk exposures had risen by 50 percent in the single second quarter of 2020.