Agents fear fraud losses

by 03 Jul 2015
Ontario’s electronic transaction law to allow real estate documents to be signed electronically is raising concerns about potential fraud even as many agents applaud it.

“I’ve had some of my deals delayed for up to 48 hours or more because people can’t get all the documents together, or aren’t near a printer or a fax machine,” said Ian, a Toronto-based real estate agent speaking to REP on condition of anonymity. “It’s more realistic for this time but the concern of course is that people are going to have to take steps to protect themselves and use privacy measures. People could be opening themselves up to fraud.”

Effective Wednesday, changes to the Electronic Commerce Act will also buyers and sellers to use electronic signatures instead of hard copy documents, something expected to make things easier for real estate transactions while saving time on both sides.

The industry player’s comments come just a month after a real estate agent in Ontario had her Gmail account hacked, ultimately costing a client $10,000. According to an article on, a Cambridge, Ont., woman, Kaitlyn DiMarco, purchased a home this past May, with her agent, Tina Goldrick, conducting much of the business through email exchange.

When Goldrick’s account was hacked, DiMarco was asked to pay $10,000 for title insurance, which she did thinking it was her agent when in fact it was the hacker requesting the payment.

The realty Goldrick worked under has refused to pay for the mix-up. 

Despite the difference in details, it’s a scenario that agents feel could occur if consumers don’t properly protect themselves, leaving agents to deal with potential blowouts. That’s almost inevitable, they argue, pointing to 205,720 real estate transactions in Ontario for 2014, alone.


  • by Scott Simmons 7/3/2015 12:12:50 PM

    It's about time Ontario leaves the dark ages and lets agents use electronic signing. In BC we have been using it for years. I could not imagine not using it. I have never had a client who has had a problem with the electronic signing system, it's very user friendly as to compared to printing and scanning.

    My tip to agents using who are going to use authentisign is to set up a dummy sale and run it through the system a few time before you do it live with a client. There is nothing worse than trying to figure something new out while doing a deal. Most agents struggle with the first few deals they do. The agents side of the system is counterintuitive and quirky until you get the hang of it.

    Good Luck and welcome to the future.

  • by Gary 7/3/2015 12:52:33 PM

    To say "agents fear fraud" is not supported in your article. Every other form of commerce in Ontario is done electronically. Software is available very Inexpensively to enable e-signatures with security. Don't fall into the lazy journalism style of the fearmongering headline. Leave that to CNN and Fox News. Why not write about how this will save time, paper and misunderstanding?

  • by Rick Dubord Broker Manager BC 7/5/2015 3:37:40 PM

    Our office has been using e-signatures for past 4 years and absolutely no challenges with the process other the lending institutions getting up to speed. It is a way of doing business cant imagine not having the service for our clients all about creating a good experience.

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