A: Whether you realize it or not, most real estate businesses keep sensitive, personal information in their files. Brokers and their agents collect personal information for a variety of reasons. They may collect:
- Social Security numbers in order to perform credit checks on prospective renters or to complete a short sale transaction;
- bank account information and Social Security numbers contained in mortgage documents and closing statements;
- personal checks given as earnest money;
- credit card information to make various payments for inspections or appraisals; or
- drivers’ license numbers as a safety precaution when agents leave the office with a new client for the first time.
If personal information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud, identity theft or similar harms. Businesses may also be concerned about reputational harm. To properly understand some safeguards and precautions that REALTORS® may need to take, it’s important to be familiar with some of the applicable law.
The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.