Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New SAFEMLS System

New SAFEMLS System

How do I know my information is safe in the Multiple Listing Service?

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has a lot of data that is not for public knowledge. To gain access to the MLS information one must belong to the MLS, have an access identification number, and a password linked to that identification number. That gave a great sense of security to the agents and property owners … until recently.

In this day and age of information harvesting and mass marketing, vendors have been going to great efforts to get information that they can profit from. It was noted recently that carpet cleaning and moving companies were calling property owners when their home went in to escrow. It turns out that they had acquired an agent’s identification and password and were accessing the MLS to see when homes were being sold. Others were accessing the information for ill use. In one case the teenage son of an agent searched for vacant homes. Finding the vacant ones, he selected the best, and invited 300 of his closest friends over for a party. The agent is still paying the bill for the repairs.

The new SAFEMLS system rolling out this month in the local MLS will offer the utmost protection of the data in its system. Produced by Clareity Security, the system involves each user having a SAFEMLS token. To access the MLS online the user must get a one-time number from the token and use it in conjunction with the identification number and password used historically. This is similar to needing your card and PIN number when using your ATM. You can’t get in without both. The SAFEMLS token has 16 million number variations and is nearly indestructible. If lost it can be nullified immediately when reported to Clareity Security. The SAFEMLS system is a professional security system similar to those used on Wall Street, in banking, by the Dept. of Defense, etc. This new system offers home sellers and real estate agents the best in data protection that is available in the private sector.

Our Advice: There is a plethora of information in the MLS, both that of customers and agents. It is imperative that it be protected. As you’ve likely seen in the news, even banks and the IRS have problems protecting their data. The local MLS now has a world-class protection system to protect our data. Be careful, however, about the information you give your agent. If your children are home unsupervised from 3-5:00 after school be sure to tell your agent, but it shouldn’t be written where predators could see it. If your fierce-looking Doberman is truly a marshmallow, make sure your agent knows it, but don’t defeat your protective illusion provided by your dog’s looks. The new system will protect your information very well, but it is still a good idea to be cautious with the information you actually disseminate.

The real estate industry is constantly striving to work better for the public in both performance and protection. The SAFEMLS system is a great example of a flexible, caring industry adapting to better serve its customers. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that it's great that you care enough to have taken proactive steps to protect consumer information.