Flooded with pesky calls by real estate brokers? Read on…

cross mature property markets around the world, an impression has gained ground that the real estate sector is also vulnerable to cyber attacks . A few years ago, US media reported that the company that managed the Brooklyn condominiums where cyber security expert Roman Sannikov lived, was hacked. The hacker locked down the property manager’s IT system and demanded the company pay a ransom to access them again.

This is not a solitary incident as far as data breach in the real estate industry is concerned. Cyber security  experts are appalled that Indian buyers do not pay much attention to such situations and more often than not just shrug it off.

In India, it doesn’t require a cyber security expert to access data of homebuyers or for that matter those scouting for an apartment. It’s often the sales representatives or even people working with real estate firms who circulate the data at the cost of the buyers’ privacy.

Take the case of Rajat Mehta who resides in Noida. Ever since Mehta bought a ready-to-move-in apartment and moved in, he has been flooded with phone calls by brokers, who ask him whether he would want to sell his house at a premium or rent it out. When he asked the caller as to who had shared his number, the caller casually responded that it was given to him by the builder’s office.

When he registered his complaint with the estate manager, he was informed that the sales team had already sold the apartment to him and the buyer was responsible to deal with such calls.

I was once having coffee with a mid-sized developer in Delhi-NCR and a broker. During the conversation, the broker advised him not to advertise the newly launched project but pay him additional commission for sharing data of buyers looking for property.

When I inquired further, I found that this was not a simple data breach. I found out that the person attending to the enquires from prospective buyers was actually hand-in-glove with a few brokers and that data of prospective home buyers was changing hands for a price.