We’ve talked about the WISP (written Information Security Protocol) that all REALTORS must follow, but we’ve discovered simple things can help – or harm – your use of protected client information. First, if you’re taking a copy of each client’s drivers license as part of your safety procedures, you must protect (lock) that information. You should also stop e-mailing a copy of the earnest money check without first redacting (blacking out) the account numbers! Not only is email insecure, but you’re also putting the receiving REALTOR in jeopardy! They may delete your message but then must have it also have it erased from the trash files, master backups and servers… which is pretty hard to do with a g-mail account! Easier still, when you take a photocopy of the check, just slide the numbers off the copy so you never had to black anything out and your paper files stay clean too. Please remember, this applies to any item that contains “Personal Information”, which the WISP law defines that as:
Personal information, a Massachusetts resident’s first name and last name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements that relate to such resident: (a) Social Security number; (b) driver’s license number or state-issued identification card number; or (c) financial account number, or credit or debit card number,with or without any required security code, access code, personal identification number or password, that would permit access to a resident’s financial account.