Since launching ProtectYourPrivacy.ca, I’ve been asked by friends, colleagues, and clients why TREB thinks this is an important cause. Well, this CBC story about online real estate scams in Toronto certainly answers that question!
According to the CBC, police in Toronto are warning the public about new online scams that are using fake ads using photos from homes that are listed on real estate sites, including MLS®.
As you may know, some material on MLS® is publicly available through REALTOR.ca. However, TREB safeguards personal information as guided by privacy legislation and consumer consent. The Canadian Competition Bureau is taking action that would force TREB to abandon these safeguards and make personal information publicly available on the Internet.
Personal information at risk includes:
- Seller’s name and address
- Property floor plans
- Sensitive property access information
- Negotiated sale price
- Mortgage details
So far, it looks like these scams are only using pictures from websites. Imagine the potential violations if these kind of people had access to way more information! Abandoning the privacy safeguards of MLS® threatens the privacy and safety of GTA consumers.
This is the age of the Internet and pictures are just a few clicks away. But this story is a clear reminder that we must do all that we can to ensure that consumers’ information is protected. REALTORS® have access to personal and sensitive information and an obligation to protect it.
Click here to learn how you can take action to help TREB protect privacy!