Protecting Personal Information
| August 19, 2014
These days it seems our most valued possession is our privacy. We may announce our everyday activities all over social media, but our bank information? Our credit history? Our annual income? We keep these private, unless we absolutely have to give them out, say, when we’re buying a house.
It’s no surprise then, that a recent survey by Equifax Canada found 86% of Albertans are more worried about protecting their personal information than they were a year ago. Fraud and identity theft are growing concerns, especially in Alberta’s hot real estate market. The national average in the survey was 79%.
Consumers should know that when they work with a licensed real estate and mortgage brokerage licensees, their professional has an obligation to keep their personal information confidential. The only time they would share any personal information of yours is if you give them permission to do so, or if they are required to do so by law.
Licensed professionals must keep your information confidential, regardless of the type of relationship you have with them. This means whether you entered into a formal client relationship, whether the professional is facilitating a transaction between you and another party, or whether you are their customer, they are required to keep your personal information confidential. Failure to do so is a fundamental failure in their professional responsibilities, and can result in serious sanctions.
Ensure you are working with a licensed professional when you are personally involved in Alberta’s real estate market. You can do so by searching their name on RECA’s website, at www.reca.ca.
Written service agreements, which are now mandatory for all client relationships with real estate or mortgage professionals, are another safeguard. The agreements give the industry professional permission to collect certain information from you and it details how your information will be maintained, used or disclosed. Written service agreements provide written assurance of how an industry professional will keep your information confidential. The protection of your personal and confidential information continues even after the term of the written agreement ends.
Are YOU more concerned about the protection of your personal information than you used to be?