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What's the Safest Way to Manage Your Passwords?
It may be the biggest Catch-22 of technology: password protection keeps your data safe. After all, one in five Americans says they have experienced a compromise of an online account. But to be genuinely safe experts recommend using different, highly complex passwords: a mix of random letters, numbers, and characters. However, that approach makes these passwords nearly impossible for most people to remember!
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How NOT to Get Ripped Off by Your Contractor: Protect Your Clients and Your Properties
How would you feel recommending a contractor and finding out the work was not done properly? Do you think that it would affect your future business and recommendations? It certainly can. And it happens more often than you think. This does not just happen to our clients. It happens to real estate agents all the time. I spoke this week with a real estate agent that inherited a condo from her mother. She decided to completely gut and renovate it. She went to the condo office to ask who they recommended since they have firsthand knowledge of the contractors that do a lot of work in the building. The office manager recommended a contractor that had renovated three units in her building in the same line. She went to take a look at them and was impressed with his work. Sounds good so far, right? She signed an agreement, and he began his work by demolishing the whole inside of the condo. Now, normally there are notices put up on the door indicating that permits were pulled. She did not see any and asked him where the permits are. He said that he did not pull any. Fear set in. She looked him up online and found out that the name of his company, which is on the contract along with his license number, is no longer active. This contractor had no license to do work. She immediately fired him and requested her deposit back. How much deposit did she give him? $42,000. Yikes! Has she seen one penny of it back? If you said no, you guessed right. Then the agent found out that the contractor was banned from the building for previous shoddy work. The big question now is, why did the condo office manager refer a contractor that was banned by the condo association? Now she hires an attorney. The cost and aggravation of pursuing this and the probability of getting her deposit returned appear to be futile. Nothing turns the excitement of your dream remodel into a nightmare like a bad contractor. Here are the eight essential tips for selecting a contractor that won't leave the home underwater. 1. Make sure the contractor you hire has an active license in your state. This is number one. Go online and search for their name. Make sure the company's name is active and look for the names of the people within the company. Sometimes, the person you are hiring is not a contractor and is working under the license of someone else. Know this upfront before you make a commitment to avoid potential risks. You want to make sure that the person you are dealing with is a licensed professional with work under their belt in your state. If anything goes wrong, you can file a complaint with the city or state licensing bureau. If any issues arise while the work is being performed, you can bring in an inspector to make sure it is being done correctly and according to the local building standards. When you hire someone to remodel a home and they don't have a license, it is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to take any recourse that will bring you a satisfying result. By hiring a licensed person, at least you know the licensing state has done some backgrounds check on them. 2. Check their online reputation and reviews Most of us today learn about those we work with by what people are saying online. Check out their reviews, and if there have been any complaints filed against them. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a good place to start. 3. Look into your contractor's background Whomever you decide to hire, make sure that you can trust that person. That can be a very big endeavor, yet there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. There are many good and bad people that do not want the headache and expense of getting a contractor's license, so they work under the license of another person. Know this beforehand and check out the work they have done. Here's an example of why that is important: A real estate agent who purchased a condo met a contractor doing work in the same building. The contractor told her that he gave his license information to the condo office, and the agent trusted that (or else he would not be working there, right?) So, she hired him to remove and re-tile her entire condo. When the contractor and his worker said they had finished the job, she went to go check. The place was covered in dust and was not completed. Upon investigating further, the agent found out that these men working in the building were ex-felons without a license. They threatened her with her life if she did not pay them, so she did. Lesson learned. Know as much as you can about the background of the person you are entrusting with keys and the remodel of your home before making a decision. 4. Interview the contractor Find out if he or she will be the one doing the job and ask how hands-on they will be. Will they be doing the work themselves or hiring others under their license to do the work? Does the contractor you hire plan on showing up every day to make sure the job is completed on time and correctly, or will they be performing multiple jobs at once and only available via phone or text? Will the contractor you hire commit to a start date? I have seen more than once a contractor saying they will begin work next week, take your deposit, and then call to postpone your job. This is common practice. Find a contractor who has a track record of showing up and completing the job within an agreeable time frame. Yes, some things can get out of our control—like weather, building inspectors and unforeseen problems. Still, you want a contractor who shows up when they say they are going to start the job. 5. Check out their referrals Rule number one is to go see their work when possible. At the very least, definitely call to verify their references. Many contractors will show you photos of the work they have done. Yet, how do you know if it was truly their work? 6. Get multiple estimates Get estimates from at least three different contractors. I believe that you get what you pay for in life. So remember, the cheapest bid does not mean it is the best. Many times, the cheapest bid ends up being the most expensive due to delays and adjustments in price that the contractor adds during the course of the project. 7. Structure payments so it is a win-win. Consider paying for the materials and supplies up front. Either you can buy them, or they can purchase them and provide receipts. Also, check that you are paying for items that were purchased for your job and not for anyone else's. Pay for work completed during various phases of the project. For example, the first deposit is made once 1/3 of the job is completed, then 1/2, then 3/4 and a final payment once completed. This can help protect you from the contractor holding all the cards (money) and then delaying the start or completion of the remodel. 8. Make sure permits are pulled and closed when the job is finished. I can't tell you how many times prior to a closing the title company finds that there is still an open permit for a job that was done years ago. It usually shows up as a lien on the property. It can delay the closing and cause undue aggravation. So make sure the permits are closed and check with your city, county or local municipality that this has been done when the work is completed. I wish there was a foolproof method to prevent contractor nightmares. By following the above tips, you can help prevent or alleviate any potential stress down the line. For additional concerns, consider speaking with an attorney specializing in condo and home construction so you take every step to protect yourself BEFORE the remodel or construction begins. Janice Zaltman is a Realtor, LEED AP, marketing coach, and writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields. To view the original article, visit the Form Simplicity blog.
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Dealing with Squatters: How to Ask Them to Leave
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Dealing with Squatters: How to Calm an Agitated Person
So the home you're showing has a squatter, and the squatter not only won't leave the property, but the situation seems to be headed toward a confrontation. What can you do de-escalate the situation? Watch this week's episode of "Real Answers" to find out: The body language to use to show squatters that you're not a threat Why you should validate the squatters feelings, even if you don't agree with them A sample script to use to talk down an agitated squatter Once you've calmed the squatter and de-escalated the situation, it's time to take the next step. What's that? Find out in next week's episode of Real Answers!  
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Dealing with Squatters: Avoiding Confrontation During a Showing
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How to Show a Vacant Property Safely, Part 2
We know that vacant homes are convenient to show--but they can also be dangerous if occupied by squatters. Last week, we learned how to check for squatters around the exterior of the house. Now, it's time to go inside. What should you do if you know (or are unsure) that squatters ARE present? It's all about psychology! Watch the video above to learn: What to do when you first open the door Why respect is the name of the game, even if they're there illegally A script for speaking to squatters and defusing a potentially tense situation How and why you should offer squatters ample time to leave before a showing--and even a gift!  
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How to Show a Vacant Property Safely, Part 1
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Safe Selling: Reading the Predator, Part 2
What are the signs that a prospect is gearing up to attack you? It's all about the adrenaline, and the physical and verbal signs that adrenaline is surging in a would-be attacker's body. So why are the signs of rising adrenaline important to look out for? Because it's the body hormone that's released when a predator is preparing to attack--and if you see the signs of an adrenaline surge, it's time to get out NOW. Watch the video above to learn: The nonverbal changes to look out for How a predator's voice changes prior to an attack, and why What to look for when a predator is trying to cover up adrenaline surge symptoms
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Safe Selling: Reading the Predator, Part 1
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Safe Selling: Showing Prep Tips for When You Can't Arrive Early
In a perfect world, agents would always have time to arrive at a showing before their prospect in order to prepare the home for a safe showing. But as we know, the world isn't exactly perfect. What happens when you arrive to a showing at the same time as the buyer and don't have time to take the necessary safety precautions? That's what we'll show you in this week's Safe Selling episode. Watch the video above to learn: How to set expectations with prospects before a showing that you'll need to enter the home alone first A sample script to use when setting those expectations Why it's important to prepare the home for your safety... no matter what
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Beyond CCPA and GDPR: New Digital Privacy Developments that Realtors Need to Know
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Safe Selling: Stay Out of Outbuildings!
It's one of the simplest, yet most crucial of safety rules to follow when showing a home: Stay out of outbuildings! Even though plenty of properties have structures like detached garages and sheds--and even though many buyers will be interested in seeing them--NEVER go in. So what should an agent do instead? Check out this week's Safe Selling video to find out! Watch the video above to learn: Why outbuildings are a hazard for agents and an opportunity for predators How to physically position yourself when showing outbuildings What to say to clients when they want to see an outside structure And more!
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Google Flags Websites that Are Not HTTPS as Not Secure
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Safe Selling: Easy Tricks for Navigating Stairs
We're going to bust another agent safety myth today: Despite what you may have been told, NEVER let a prospect go all the way up a flight of stairs before you do. Why? Because you'll lose sight of them, and then a predator posing as a prospect can hide around a corner in preparation for attacking you. So what's a better alternative? Find out in this week's Safe Selling video. Watch the clip above to learn: The ideal distance to keep between you and a prospect when climbing stairs One trick to keeping prospects in sight even when they turn a corner Why the handrail is your best tool in protecting yourself The move you need to make to evade an attack from above
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Safe Selling: Opening a Lockbox and Door
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Safe Selling: Dealing with the Dangers of Master Suites
Last week, we talked about how easy it is to get trapped in a bedroom by a dangerous prospect during a showing. We also showed you how to protect yourself when showing standard bedrooms--but what if you're showing an irregularly shaped master suite? In this week's Safe Selling video, we tackle exactly that issue. Watch the video above to learn: What to do when a prospect has a question from the en suite bathroom. How to protect yourself when you have to enter the bedroom to speak to the prospect. How to use the door jamb to protect yourself--and what side of the jamb is best to stand by for an easy escape. A diagram possible escape routes when showing a master bedroom
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Safe Selling: Why Bedrooms Are a Danger Zone During Showings
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Safe Selling: Quick Hack for Keeping a Safe Distance from Prospects at a Showing
Let's talk about safe spaces--and, no, we don't mean that kind of safe space. In this case, a "safe space" is a healthy amount of distance that you should keep between you and prospects during a showing. As we know, a certain amount of distance makes good safety sense. But how close is too close--and how can you tell if you're far enough away to reduce your risk of being attacked by a predator posing as a prospect? In this week's Safe Selling episode, find out a quick and discreet way to make sure you're staying a safe distance away from a client. Watch the video above to learn more!
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Safe Selling: The 'No Influence' Sales Strategy
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Safe Selling: Why You Should Take the (Literal) High Ground
There are several subtle tricks that real estate agents can use to psychologically "turn off" a predator who's posing as a prospect. We've talked about about a few of them over the last few months--everything from maintaining control of the showing time to a phone technique you can use to screen prospects. This week, we're letting you in on a simple secret that can demonstrate to predators that you're no agent to mess with. That secret? Taking the high ground... literally. Watch the video above to learn: How standing slightly above your prospect unconsciously signals your dominance to them Where to find slightly elevated surfaces to stand on when greeting prospects at a listing or public place Why this simple act works as a "buzzkill" to potentially dangerous prospects Why legitimate prospects won't be affected by this technique--so you don't have to worry about alienating them
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Safe Selling: How to Maximize Your Visibility During a Showing
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Safe Selling: 4 Times You Should ALWAYS Have a Showing Buddy
Agents are frequently told to "Just take someone with you," to stay safe, but few do. While the agent buddy system is effective for staying safe, it's not always practical. So even though agents with solid safety skills can usually go without accompaniment, there are still times when you should ALWAYS pair up with a colleague. Watch the video above to learn the 4 scenarios where a showing buddy is CRITICAL for safety. In this video, you'll also learn: How the buddy system tips the "flight or fight" balance in your favor The unexpected reason why cell phone coverage matters to agent safety Why "Uncomfortable saves your life, but scared gets you dead"
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[Best of 2018] Safe Selling: Screen Prospects with This Easy Phone Trick
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Safe Selling: The 3 Things You Should Do to Prepare a Home for a Showing
All the world's a stage--as should be the home you're showing to a new prospect. We don't mean a "stage" in the sense of everything being picture perfect (although that helps). Rather, we mean that, for safety purposes, a listing should be treated like a stage where the outside world can see inside in case something goes wrong. As we know, predators who target real estate agents aim to isolate them where agents can't be seen or heard. By increasing visibility into a listing during a showing, you increase the odds of staying safe and even deterring an attack. Watch the video above to learn: The three things you should do to prepare a listing for maximum safety during a showing Why it's important that neighbors and passersby can see or hear you during a showing How doing the three things above help to foil a predator's plan
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Safe Selling: Use the Meet Time to Establish Power and Control
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Safe Selling: Using Property Information to Deter a Predator
New listing? Take some time to meet the neighbors so you can get more information about the neighborhood. Not only is this a good practice for winning new listings, but collecting this information can also potentially deter predators. How? Well, last week we learned about a communication trick you can use to discourage a predator's interest in a showing. This week, we'll show you how to use the information you've gleaned about an area to your advantage. Watch the video above to learn: What you should find out about a neighborhood Which neighborhood/property features scare off predators How to seamlessly incorporate the information you've learned into conversation with a prospect What to listen for in a conversation that signals that you may be dealing with a predator Why you should always input the information you've learned about the neighborhood into the showing notes field of your MLS. Stay tuned for next week's 'Safe Selling' episode!  
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Safe Selling: Screen Prospects with This Easy Phone Trick
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Safe Selling: The Office and Driver's License Myth
Does asking a new prospect for their driver's license really protect you from a potential attack? How about meeting at your office first? These are the things agents are commonly told to do when meeting a client for the first time. But in this week's 'Safe Selling' video, we'll learn why this is a fallacy. Watch the video above to find out: How meeting at your office can actually play into a predator's hands Why it's important to meet at a public location first, NOT the listing Why copying a driver's license won't keep you safe What to do if you don't have a third person lined up to accompany you on a first showing with a new client One important caveat here: We're not saying DON'T copy a new client's license or meet them at your office (as long as others are there). Instead, don't let these actions lull you into a false sense of security--they alone won't deter a predator. Stay vigilant and remember all of the preventative tips we've been sharing in this video series. Until next week—Happy Thanksgiving and safe selling!    
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Shady Prospect? Spot 'Red Flags' with This Technique
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5 Rules for Staying Safe on Social Media
We're continuing our week-by-week series on steps to take to make yourself unappealing to predators. This Halloween week, we're tackling a monster vulnerability for real estate agents: social media. What do predators look for when scouring social media profiles in search of their next victim? Watch our latest "Safe Selling" video above to find out that and more, including: How social media posts can add fuel to a predator's fantasy life The #1 rule for staying safe on social media Why you should use a different name and profile photo on your personal and professional accounts How to build a protective "wall" between your professional and personal sides How to prevent predators from cyberstalking you and discovering your personal profile and private family information Want more info on staying safe online and in the field? Tune in for next week's 'Safe Selling' video!
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Safe Selling: How to Avoid Marketing that Attracts Predators
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The Smartest Agent Is the Safe Agent
September was officially REALTOR® Safety Month, and there was an abundance of news stories, blogs and social media posts filled with tips and tactics to help keep brokers and agents safe. But let's face it: agent safety is something that's vital all 365 days a year. So here is a collection of the best resources we found to help keep you safe year-round.
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Safe Selling: Authoritative Language vs. Subservient Language
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Safe Selling: How Your Headshot Can Deter Predators
We know that predators often find their next victim by browsing Realtor photos online. What are they looking for in those photographs--and what draws them to one agent over another? Like many things in life, it's all about power. Predators seek power over others, but are deterred by those who project power. Being cowards themselves, predators instead look for individuals who seem weak or subservient. So how can you convey power in your Realtor headshot? Watch this week's "Safe Selling" video to find out: The body language and expressions that intimidate predators The posture and facial expressions that attract predators The two types of agent headshots: professional vs. intimate Why professional photos actually earn you more business For a deeper dive into this topic, see Reducing the Risk of Being Targeted. For social media safety advice, see Setting Expectations in Your Marketing. Tune in next week for more safe selling tips!  
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How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
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Safe Selling: Is Your Prospect Actually a Thief? How to Tell
 Did you know that a prospective buyer who 'dust checks' a window may really be a thief who's planning to burglarize the listing later? That's just one of the many behaviors thieves display that--if you know what to look for--can give them away as criminals. Last week, we touched briefly on how to identify thieves during a home tour, and we showed you a scam called "The Couple's Play." This week, we're diving deeper by highlighting some of the most common behaviors thieves display during a showing. Watch the video above to learn: Why single buyers are more likely to be burglars How thieves use a 'dust check' to unlock windows for later reentry The type of photo a prospect takes that fingers them as a likely thief Questions to look out for that indicate your prospect may intend to burglarize the home later Tune in next week when we'll learn more about staying safe on the job!  
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Agent Safety Month: 6 Tips for Real Estate Agents
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Safe Selling: How to Identify Thieves
We've talked about predators who are a threat to an agent's physical safety. But what about those prospects who are a threat to the home you're showing? That's right, we're talking about thieves. In this week's "Safe Selling" video, Lee Goldstein of Real Safe Agent shows us the behaviors that thieves display and how to identify them. Today's lesson focuses on a scam called "The Couple's Play." It involves a pair of supposed spouses who separate while touring a home. Watch this video to learn: What the role of each person in the suspicious couple is How to identify a prospect who's deliberately distracting you How a woman playing the role of distractor talks differently to male and female agents Stay tuned until next week when we'll learn more about staying safe while selling!    
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Safe Selling: The Timeline of a Crime
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Safe Selling: Understanding How a Predator Thinks
What do alcoholics and predators that prey on real estate agents have in common? Find out in this week's Realtor safety video. Last week, we learned the differences between predators and thieves and why predators are the ones that target real estate agents for violent crimes. Today, we're taking a deep dive into the mind of the predator to learn how they think. Why? Because understanding their behavior allows us to prevent them from committing crimes. In the video above, Lee Goldstein, founder of Real Safe Agent, talks about the "offender cycle" -- a psychological pattern that both predators and substance abusers share. Watch the video to learn: How negative feelings of self-worth trigger the offender cycle How predators progress from deviant thoughts to a deviant fantasy life The point of no return when a predator decides to commit a crime Tune in next week for our next installment of Safe Selling!
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Safe Selling: Predators vs. Thieves
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Realtor Safety: Preparing a Home for a Showing
We're re-running this popular agent safety video series from Real Safe Agent on our broker channel to highlight the importance of safety on the job. Brokers, please feel free to share and/or reuse this content on your own blog, website, social media account, internal communications, and beyond! In a recent edition of our agent safety video series, we learned how those who attack Realtors are different from the average criminal--they're outright predators who plan their attacks. In today's video, we'll learn how to set up a home for a showing in a way that deters those with a predatory mindset. This is the first in a miniseries of three videos on making a home safe for a showing. Watch the video above to learn the very first things you should do when you arrive at a property--and before your prospect shows up. You'll find out how to ensure that neighbors and passersby can see and hear you should anything go wrong. Stay tuned for next week when we'll reveal more tips for showing a home safely!    
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Realtor Safety: Navigating Stairs without Making Yourself Vulnerable to Attack
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Who's Attacking Real Estate Agents?
We're re-running this popular agent safety video series from Real Safe Agent on our broker channel to highlight the importance of safety on the job. Brokers, please feel free to share and/or reuse this content on your own blog, website, social media account, internal communications, and beyond! Can real estate agents get attacked in affluent, low crime areas? That's the question Lee Goldstein tackles in this week's Realtor safety video. The short answer: yes, absolutely. Violence against Realtors isn't a crime of opportunity--it's premeditated and planned out by predators. In this short video, you'll learn: How crime against agents differs from ordinary street crime Why the affluence of the area you serve doesn't matter The average profile of predators who target real estate agents--it may not be who you think! Stay tuned 'til next week for more tips and tricks on staying safe in the field!
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Realtor Safety: Opening a Lockbox and Door
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Realtor Safety: Prevention vs. Reaction
Before we can examine the various safety products on the market, we must first start with an understanding of crime against agents. The types of individuals who shoplift are different from those who rob banks, and the techniques of the two types of criminals are different. This is also true for those who commit crimes against agents and those who commit random street crimes. These are entirely different types of criminals who think differently and use entirely different techniques. Crime against real estate agents is a predatory crime carried out by predators. To illustrate this point, let's break down the timeline and process of an attack on an agent:
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Rebuttal: Why Background Checks on Real Estate Prospects Don't Work
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What Anti-virus Tools Do the Experts Recommend?
After a turbulent 2017 filled with security breaches and hacker attacks, it is clear that the protection of our computers is needed more than ever. Computer viruses engineered by hackers have been known to wreak havoc on a global scale. Last year, the WannaCry cyberattack alone crippled equipment in more than 16 hospitals in the UK. Ransomware infected some 70,000 computers worldwide, potentially holding users hostage to hacker extortion demands. Cybercriminals are becoming more aggressive. Apple Mac users are discovering that they are not virus proof! That means agents need to update their computers with anti-virus software to safeguard their files from harm. Sadly, even highly-rated security software designed to protect your computer has come under suspicion. Last fall, the U.S. government even pulled Kaspersky Lab security software from its computers due to unease about the product's possible ties to Russian security services. So what antivirus software should real estate agents trust to defend their computers? There are lots of antivirus options, but which ones are the best for you? Here's a review of some of the things you need to consider and options you can explore. Antivirus software for your PC Today, Windows 10 users are finding fewer problems than ever. That's because it comes with Windows Defender. Microsoft is providing its users with an excellent anti-virus protection program built-into the latest edition of Windows. If you are a Windows user and thinking of an upgrade, this feature alone might be reason enough to make your move now. But if you are using an earlier version of Windows, there are other options out there that could be just as effective. For example, Tom's Guide, which is known as one of the most trusted tech sources on the Internet, recently made their top four antivirus picks based on four price ranges: Free, Basic, Mid-Range and Premium. Types of PC Antivirus Software Free: These types of Windows antivirus products, such as Microsoft Security Essentials, generally offers only bare-bones protection. Malware updates and scans must often be manually initiated. There also is seldom any protection against malicious websites or email attachments. Basic: The least-expensive paid Windows antivirus products, which generally list from $40 to $60 per year depending on the number of PCs covered, give you basic overall protection. This included antivirus definition updates with automatic scanning. Also, websites and email attachments are screened. These products are, overall, easy to use. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a prime example of basic antivirus software recommended by Tom's. Mid-Range: These products usually list from $60 to $80 per year. Generally, they build on the basic packages by bundling in parental controls and a two-way firewall to catch outgoing data, although many add other features. But if you are looking for a full-feature set, you'll have to pony up for one of the premium antivirus products. Ironically, an example of a mid-range antivirus program recommended by Tom's Guide is one the U.S. government will no longer use: Kaspersky Internet Security. Premium: Top-tier packages are often called suites because they do much more than catch malware. Added features often include file encryption, secure online storage, a password manager or an ad blocker. As most suites cover multiple devices, they also frequently bundle in licenses for Mac and Android antivirus software. For all this, you can expect to pay between $80 and $100 per year. Once again, Tom's Guide's top pick was a Kaspersky product: Kaspersky Total Security. However, if you're nervous about Kaspersky products, PC Magazine offers a list of many alternative antivirus programs and their features available here. Your Mac Now Needs Antivirus Protection In the past, Apple has maintained that its Mac OS does not need antivirus software, unlike Windows PCs. They argue that its built-in security features, combined with its sturdy technological architecture, make it so Mac users don't have to worry about their computer becoming infected with malware. But according to Macworld, an increase in malware specifically designed for Mac products was higher in 2017 than in the previous five years combined. In fact, Mac users in recent years have been dealing with several new threats. One of the most frightening is KeRanger, which is the first known ransomware specifically designed to target Mac OS. While Macs are considered to have better protection against computer viruses than PCs, they are just as vulnerable to malware and other harmful bugs on the web as Windows products are. Antivirus software can be useful in defending your Mac from malware. In fact, more advanced antivirus software for the Mac includes parental controls and options to lock down your webcam and stop websites from tracking your browsing activity. You can see a list of Mac Antivirus Software online here from PC Magazine. Testing of Antivirus Software If you are still having problems deciding what antivirus software product suits your computer, one final option to consider is a not-for-profit overseas organization called AV-Comparatives. AV-Comparatives is an independent organization based in Austria that tests and reviews antivirus software for PCs, Macs and other operating systems. Its goal is to see which products live up to their claims. The company is best known for its "Real World Protection Tests." These tests put antivirus products in a realistic environment that can closely determine how well they will protect a user's operating system. The company then releases data reports and charts to the public and media on the results and comparisons. AV-Comparatives can be an excellent guide to help agents decide what antivirus software is right for them. Too much of a good thing A word of caution from our tech experts: do not load your machine with more than one antivirus software program. You could ultimately slow it down, as each software program would try to overlap each other, and that would cause performance issues. That does not mean you shouldn't include an advertising blocker, like Adblock Plus, a completely free add-on for Chrome and Firefox browsers. Ad blockers can automatically stop malicious script, unwanted popups and ads – even those running on dangerous webpages, and prevent the deployment of ransomware that locks up your computer screen. Most importantly, you need to continue to practice safe browsing and be guarded when opening email attachments. An email from a long-lost friend or cousin or an old boss with an attachment arriving out of the blue should raise a red flag. The best rule of thumb is that if you don't know what it is, just don't click it. Finally, remember to keep your computer current. While you can never determine when a virus is going to attack your computer, having the right up-to-date antivirus software and updates for your operating system can be the difference between infection and protection. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Why Background Checks on Real Estate Prospects Don't Work
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Why Should U.S. Agents and Brokers Care about GDPR?
General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is finally getting the most buzz among U.S. businesses. More so than just about anything that's happened in Europe since the European Union went after Microsoft for antitrust concerns. GDPR takes effect May 25, 2018 and covers how European residents' information can be collected and stored online, as well as EU residents' ability to access and restrict that data. It covers what is known in the U.S. as Personally Identifiable Information, see here. This new law also requires companies to notify its European users of any data breach swiftly. So why all the U.S. interest? Here's why: This law applies to every U.S. real estate website, blog or app if at any point it collects personal information from a European resident. The resident only needs to be in Europe when the data is collected. A financial transaction does not have to take place.
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Tech Advice: How Safe Are Your Passwords?
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Top 7 Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents
According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Member Safety Survey, almost half of female REALTORS® (44 percent) and one in four male REALTORS® have experienced a situation in the past year that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information. To help improve agent safety and reduce the opportunity for a potentially harmful situation to occur, SentriLock, a leading provider of electronic lockbox solutions, announced seven safety tips for real estate agents.
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The Browser Extension that Protects You from Facebook's Prying Eyes
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How Safe Is the Cloud?
Have you ever hesitated to store a document on the cloud because you thought it might not be safe? Or do you avoid storing anything in the cloud? If you do store documents in the cloud, have you wondered if Dropbox was a safer place to save it than Google Drive? Or do you think your files are more secure on a portable hard drive, CD, DVD or a flash drive? These are common questions agents ask Tech Helpline tech support analysts. Tech Helpline from Florida Realtors® is the real estate industry's #1 tech support service. It is available as a benefit through local and state MLSs, brokerages and associations. Let's take a look at the cloud. What are the options available to safely store documents? Here's what tech experts say are the best practices.
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Geotagging: How It Can Put You at Risk, and 4 Ways to Stay Safe
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The Ultimate Guide to Email Security
How to protect your email account from getting hacked or phished Equifax. Target. Uber. LinkedIn. Yahoo. If there is one thing we have all learned, it is that nothing is safe these days. These companies – and others – clearly cannot be counted on to safeguard you from the dangers of hackers. In 2016 alone, over 4 billion data records were stolen across the world. Your email account should be treated as one the most closely guarded personal effects in your life. What were to happen if your email account were compromised and all the escrow money or their social security numbers your client had entrusted to you vanished due to you clicking on a suspect email link? That is a scenario none of us want. To help safeguard you, and the interests of those you represent, use these five stages of email password security to protect your email account.
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I H4TE [email protected]$$W0RD$!
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How Can You Make Your Data Safe?
When data was breached at Equifax, one of the largest credit agencies in the world, the personal data of 145.5 million U.S. consumers was stolen. The information included full names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and even driver license numbers. Cyber-security breaches are on the rise. The real estate industry is particularly vulnerable to data theft. It's due to both the nature of our business and the fact that we have more than 1 million independent contractors. Because real estate involves bank transfers – earnest money deposits and the wiring of closing funds - cyber-criminals see the business as an attractive target. Having an independent workforce means there are no universal security standards. There are no security protocols in place that all agents must follow. And agents use a wide range of disparate technologies for database storage services and practices, with some more secure than others. So what can you do, as an agent or broker, to keep your data safe? Here are some basic "best practices" that can help protect both your personal information and your business data.
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Friday Freebie: Realtor Safety Tool Identifies Dangerous Prospects
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Keeping Your Evernote Account Secure
Evernote recently sent out an email regarding some security issues they have noticed on members' accounts. This email was not sent out to everyone, only those members on whose accounts they noticed suspicious activity. So if you didn't receive this email, don't worry! (It's a good thing). We highly recommend using Evernote for real estate. With that being said, we also wanted to share some tips and resource to make sure your Evernote account (and all of your important notes and contracts) are secure.
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9 Mobile Apps that Keep Realtors Safe During Showings
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How Agents Can Avoid Being Targeted by Predators
This article is part of a series we are publishing for Realtor Safety Month. Read previous articles here and here. The real estate industry has traditionally approached crime against REALTORS® as if it were random and opportunistic. This is a fallacy. The overwhelming majority of crime against REALTORS® is predatory crime committed by predators. Simply look at what someone must do to commit a crime against a REALTOR®:
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Are Lockboxes Safe? 7 Facts to Soothe Client Fears
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Realtor Safety: What NAR's 2017 Report Reveals
It's that time of year: September is Realtor® Safety Month, which means that the National Association of Realtors® has recently released its annual Member Safety Report. This year's report reveals that 5 percent of Realtors report being a victim of a job-related crime, with 3 percent saying they were a victim of a robbery or assault, 1 percent reporting identity theft, and 1 percent preferring not to say. Those numbers are the same as last year's survey, but the number of agents who say they have been in a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information dropped slightly, to 38 percent from 39 percent in 2016. Here are other changes in the 2017 Member Safety Report compared to last year:
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Why Real Estate Agents Need to Think About Cyber Security
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Knowing What These Tech Buzzwords Mean Could Save Your Real Estate Business
Malware. Phishing. Vishing. Smishing. Pharming. Spoofing. Ransomware. Spyware. Virus. You probably recognize some of these cyber security terms, perhaps even most of them. But understanding what these words mean and how these scams work could help you prevent serious damage to your computer, your smartphone and even your real estate business. Let's understand this tech terminology, and what you can do to protect yourself and your technology from being exploited. Phishing
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It's Open House Season! 4 Key Tips to Stay Safe
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Don't Get Caught by the Phishing Hook
It's spring home buying season, but that also means it's phishing season, and not the kind that puts fresh trout on the dinner table. "Phishing" is an attempt to try to trick you to give up financial or other confidential information, such as your user ID or password, by sending you a communication that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization. The communication typically is from scammer who is using the name and likeness of a financial institution or other trustworthy organization. It contains a call to action or link to a fake website that can look identical to the real one and usually features a web address that is nearly identical. As home sales activity heats up this spring, real estate agents and brokers also need to ramp up their alert levels and be increasingly aware of these scams. Scammers are increasing their focus on real estate because they know that there are millions of transactions totaling billions of dollars each year, and our industry relies heavily on email and texting to coordinate communications for these transactions. We all get busy, yet we need to be particularly cautious and keenly aware of any communications that ask for confidential information, no matter how trustworthy the source may appear. A good example occurred in Florida earlier this year. A fake organization calling itself the "Florida Board of Realtors" sent out invoices to real estate professionals throughout the state, sending them a "Final Notice" bill. The attached letter suggested that their real estate licenses were in jeopardy unless they paid the annual $225 fee. The invoice even cites a Florida Statute in an attempt to establish legitimacy. This highly sophisticated scam even included links to a very professional looking website. However, if you dug a little deeper, you would discover that most of the links on the website were broken – they did not work – and the blog content was very outdated. Fortunately, Florida Realtors were notified immediately by members and sent out a statewide alert to members. But how do you protect yourself from something like this, and other scams?
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3 Ways Your Lockbox Can Keep You Safe
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Amateur Move: Are You Making One of These 7 Password Mistakes?
Did you know that "password" was one of the top 10 most used, well, passwords in 2016? What a time to be alive! It's a time when developers have created better (and easier!) ways of staying secure online, but people still muck it up by making rookie password mistakes. Don't be a rookie. And don't make the amateur move of endangering your clients' sensitive personal information by using weak passwords that can easily be cracked. Not sure about the effectiveness of your password? Your password may be vulnerable if you're making one of these seven mistakes: 1. Your password is less than 12 characters long. In the early days of the web, passwords were typically eight characters long. Today, eight characters are fairly simple to crack, and security experts recommend that 12 should be now be the absolute minimum. While it may be harder to remember, longer passwords are also much harder to crack. 2. Your password has just one word. If you're looking to make your passwords longer and stronger, using a pass phrase rather than a single word is an easy way to do it. By using an entire phrase, your password is longer and more difficult to guess. Don't pick a well known quote or phrase—instead, use something obscure that has meaning to you. Add in random capitalization, characters, substitute a few letters for numbers and you're well on your way to a stronger password. 3. You use simple keyboard patterns. Long passwords made of out of simple keyboard patterns may seem like an easy path to security, but they're extremely common and therefore easy to guess. Sure, 1q2w3e4r5t6y looks like a difficult password, but upon closer examination, it's obvious that this password is just the first few numbers alternating with the first few letters on the keyboard. Stay away from this method to stay safe.
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Staying Safe with Pepper Spray Technologies
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SentriLock Adds New Mobile Agent Safety Feature
Lockbox provider SentriLock's mobile app now offers an agent safety feature. Officially launched in October, the new update to the SentriSmart mobile app alerts others when an agent is in a potentially dangerous situation. How It Works When an agent uses SentriSmart to open the lockbox, the application begins tracking the time and sends a request for a status update every 15 minutes. The Realtor has the option of clicking on their mobile device to either reset the next status request for 15 minutes later, stopping the status requests, or sending an alert. If the agent doesn't respond at all, an automated emergency safety alert goes out to designated contacts, including colleagues, family and friends to inform them of a potential problem so they can provide assistance. "The key difference in the functionality of the SentriSmart safety application compared to others is that it requires no other action by the agent to have the alert set. It goes automatically when agent opens the lockbox," explains Greg Sheldon, CEO of SentriLock. Sheldon also notes that the app feature is a free add-on benefit for Realtors who are already using the SentriSmart application. Realtors can update their mobile application to the newest version, which includes the new safety feature, through either the Apple or Google Play stores online.
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REALTOR Safety: Comparing Pepper Spray Delivery Technologies
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Top Security Technologies for Realtors
Susan answered the call just as she was locking up the office for the day. On the other end, a man explained, "I'm flying out of town this evening, but I would really like to see one of your listings beforehand. Can you meet me there in an hour?" She knew this wasn't a safe idea, but she'd been trying to sell that property on the outskirts of town for months. Like Susan, many Realtors say "yes" in these all-too-common scenarios because staying competitive in the real estate industry often compels agents to put sales before safety. Fortunately, our online Technology Guide introduces Realtors to some of the top security technologies for protecting both themselves and the properties they represent. For instance, Real Safe Agent is a crime prevention system deployed throughout an MLS or association. The system drives collaboration between agents to keep each other safe by enabling them to use their mobile phone to discreetly request help from colleagues. Should an agent send an alert, all nearby agents receive a drop-in alert along with the meeting location. Other agents can then casually check in to determine if there's a threatening situation—without creating any undue uneasiness that could ruin a potential sale. Real Safe Agent also enables both the vetting of prospects and sharing of agents' post-meeting comfort levels with specific clients. Before a first-time meeting, agents can send a text message requesting that the prospect provide their name and a picture of themselves. The information is then stored in the system for safety reporting. After the meeting, agents may rate how comfortable they felt with a prospect. This rating is averaged with the responses from all agents who engaged with that client. The average rating is available to agents when they book an appointment with a new client who is in the system, giving them the opportunity to take precautions if warranted.
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Understanding Self Defense Technologies for REALTOR Safety Month
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How Safe Are You? What a New Realtor Safety Report Reveals
The National Association of Realtors released their 2016 Member Safety Report today, and it's packed full of insights about how safe agents feel on the job, their personal experiences, and how their brokerages help reinforce agent security. "Like most jobs that require interacting with the public, selling real estate involves some level of risk," NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement. NAR surveyed 3,000 Realtors and found that 5 percent of respondents had been a victim of a job-related crime. Nearly one in four Realtors have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. Here are a few other key statistics: 5 percent of Realtors have been a victim of a crime 2 percent of Realtors have been robbed, and 1 percent assaulted 1 percent of Realtors have experienced identity theft 39 percent of Realtors have been in a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information Far more females than males--46 percent vs. 22 percent--reported encountering fearful situations 44 percent say their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety Agents most often said they felt fearful during open houses, when showing vacant and model homes, when working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured, and showing properties in remote areas. Here's a breakdown of who has experienced fearful situations and where:
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Realtor Safety Month Spotlight: 'Real Safe Agent' mobile app
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REALTOR® Safety Webinar: Get Smart about Smart Homes and Your Safety (9/14)
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 11:00 AM PDT Being safe starts at home, and by now we're familiar with most of the usual safety measures homeowners take - deadbolts, window locks, even basic security systems. But, in this brave new world of technology, what about smart home devices? What do you, as REALTORS®, need to know about these devices to best inform and protect your clients? What do you need to know for yourself to ensure your own safety? You may learn some things that open your eyes, and you'll definitely walk away with knowledge you can start using immediately. Register now!
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19 Tips to Stay Safe During Realtor Safety Month (and Beyond!)
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6 Things You Should Do When Your Email Gets Hacked
Getting your email hacked can happen to any of us, and it can be alarming. The most popular way people realize that their email has been hacked is when a friend or family member lets them know that they received a strange email from them. Email hackers target the public to take money from them fraudulently. One popular way they take people's money is by getting unauthorized access to your email account and sending an email to your contacts. The email may state that you are on vacation overseas and suddenly need help and money – and could they please send money right away to the mentioned account? Unaware that it wasn't really you who sent the email, and because it seems like a legitimate email from you, some contacts do send money to the fraudsters. If you ever recognize that your personal email has been hacked, do these six things to mitigate risk: 1. Change your email password right away – Log into your email provider's web mail portal and go to your account settings. Typically, there is a Security section where you have the option to change your password. Choose a new, strong password that does not resemble the previous one. If you no longer have access to the account, use the 'Forgot Password' option to create a new one and recover access to your account. If you used this password in other sites/accounts, change those passwords, as well, and don't use the same password in multiple sites.
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How YOU Can Help Prevent Violence Against Realtors
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How Agents Can Protect Themselves from Email Scams
Members of the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® (SFAR) were the targets of a phishing attack last week. Agents received an email that, at first glance, appeared to be from the association and prompted recipients to download a malicious file disguised as an invoice. The message was the latest in a string of phishing attempts aimed at real estate professionals. In fact, just last year, NAR issued a warning against an email scam that attempted to get buyers to wire money to a fraudulent bank account. The Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau have issued similar warnings recently, as well, and the message is clear: agents need to be alert and on guard. How to Spot a Fake Email Even if you're technologically savvy, that doesn't mean you're immune to falling for a phishing attack or email scam. The SFAR email, for example, was a convincing fake, going so far as to "spoof" or make the email appear like it came from the association's servers, thus making it more likely that trusting Realtors would download the malicious file. So if email scams today are growing increasingly sophisticated, how can agents discern which are real and which are fake? Well, while the SFAR email looked like a convincing fake, there were a couple of "tells" that gave the spammers away. Let's break down what the SFAR phishers did wrong so we can better learn how to spot fake messages in the future.
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5 Email Security Tips for Real Estate Agents
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Gone Phishin'
Talk about ironic timing! Just hours before helping run a webinar on data security, I got "spear phished" for the first time. Like everyone, I've been "phished" before. That's when you get those annoying spam emails posing as, say, your bank or another trusted entity. They're generic mass emails that are sent to tons of people at once in the hopes that a few recipients will be fooled into sharing sensitive information like bank or credit card numbers. Fortunately, they're pretty easy to spot--just hover over any link (don't click!) to see if the address points to the actual domain of the purported sender or to something suspicious like xxx.sh.123.2.ch (or something). Broken English is a common red flag, too. What is Spear Phishing? Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a highly targeted version of phishing (hence the name). Here, spammers know your name, they know your email, and the know the name of those you're connected to--and that's how they get you. When targeting me, they posed as RE Technology's CEO, Victor. Because our name, title, and contact info is listed on RE Technology's site--a necessity for doing our job, by the way--the spammers were able to intuit enough about us to know that it was likely I would trust a message appearing to be from Victor.
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Security Alert: It's Time to Stop Using Internet Explorer!
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Best of 2015: Screening Prospects Before a Showing
There's just 10 publishing days left in 2015, and we're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article is part of a 12-part series on Realtor safety that originally ran back in September. It's #10 in our countdown: Evaluations "Always bring someone on an appointment." Nice idea, but unrealistic. When something is ALWAYS important then it becomes NEVER important. However, understanding how to evaluate the prospect, property, and circumstances is the first step in assessing the overall risk of an appointment so you can make better decisions about your safety and the safety of your colleagues. Evaluating a Prospect Evaluating a prospect in your initial conversation is easily done with a sales technique you are probably already using – Active Listening. Simply put, Active Listening is a conversational style that allows you to gain the trust of the prospect and gets them to provide additional information. In addition to allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of a legitimate prospect's needs and wants, it also allows you to uncover inconsistencies and red flags if a prospect is not legitimate. Let's take a look at an excerpt from an initial phone conversation: Prospect: I saw this house online and I'd like to see it. Agent: OK, what about the house appealed to you? Prospect: I just liked it. The prospect's answer should serve as a red flag. If someone liked a house enough to take the time to see it, there should be at least one specific thing that was attractive to him/her.
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Are Your Weak Passwords Leaving Clients Vulnerable?
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Realtor Safety: How the Real Estate Community Can Protect Itself
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the last in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. When all is said and done, you are part of a community of real estate professionals and it is the responsibility of the community to keep each member safe! The problem of agent safety is impossible to solve if we see each agent as a "lone wolf." However, the problem becomes easy to solve if we see ourselves as part of a community of professionals committed to each other's safety through collaboration and cooperation. What Should Agents Do to Support Each Other? If your association or MLS has not already implemented a crime prevention systemm urge them to do so Share information about individuals that made you feel uncomfortable Post safety related information about your listings in an MLS field that is not syndicated Share safety information about your listings with buyer's agents when called, texted, or emailed KEEP EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE FOR SAFETY If your association or MLS has implemented Real Safe Agent: Utilize the Prospect Link feature Rate prospects with whom you felt uncomfortable, and respond to clarification requests Issue "drop-in" alerts when you first become uncomfortable with a prospect Respond to other agent's "drop-in" alerts If you are going on a high risk appointment and don't already have someone to accompany you, utilize the Accompany Feature Respond to other agents' Accompany Requests even if they are from a different brokerage.
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Realtor Safety: Reading the Prospect
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Realtor Safety: What is this feeling?
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the tenth in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. In the home While inside the home, there are some guidelines you should follow to help keep you safe. It is important to remember that the ultimate goal is to the make situation unattractive to a predator while not making a legitimate prospect feel uncomfortable. Every home is different so you may have to adjust some of the following practices to meet the layout of the home and your particular sales style. When at all possible, be sure to position yourself in such a way that you are clearly visible from the outside of the house. If a prospect is looking to assault you, they don't want to do it where it can be witnessed. When moving from one area of the home to another, let the prospect explore before you enter the area with them. "The next area is the kitchen, go in get and initial feel for it and tell me what you think." This is a "no influence sales strategy." Do not enter bedrooms with the prospect, if at all possible. Stand at the edge of the door in the hallway. Master Suites – Be sure to familiarize yourself with the master bathroom because this is an ideal place for a prospect to isolate you; they therefore may ask a question as a strategy for getting you into the bathroom with them. DO NOT ENTER A MASTER BATHROOM WITH A NEW PROSPECT. If you must enter the bedroom to answer the question, stand outside of the doorway to the master bath. Furthermore, stand perpendicular to the doorway, this makes you a smaller target and allows for a faster escape if necessary.
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Realtor Safety: How to Have a Safe Showing
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Realtor Safety: Using the Initial Prospect Call to Deter Predators
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the eighth in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. There are several techniques you can use during the initial prospect call to deter a predator, whether their motive is power or profit. Most of these techniques use the information you've learned from the neighborhood and property evaluation you've already done. Additionally, most of that information is valuable information you would pass on to a legitimate prospect because it could make the property more attractive to the legitimate prospect, while making meeting you at that property less attractive to the predator. Neighborhood and Property Information If the property is your listing and the statements are true, you'll want to mention the following in the initial call: "There's an active neighborhood watch" "It's a tight-knit little area and the neighbors seem to socialize regularly" "You've got a county sheriff just three houses away" "The house very light and open, with plenty of windows" Anything you tell the prospect that would be generally attractive to a legitimate buyer, but makes it a less attractive crime location, you should mention.
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Emergency Items Every Agent Should Keep in Their Car
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Realtor Safety: Evaluating a Property and Neighborhood
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the seventh in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. Learning as much as possible about a property and neighborhood is an important part of the sales process. However, it is also an important step in assessing the risk of an appointment as well as deterring a possible predator. The Neighborhood If the property you are showing is your listing, spending a little time introducing yourself to the neighbors and checking out the neighborhood is an excellent strategy for getting additional business. It is also an extremely valuable safety strategy. While introducing yourself to neighbors, take the time to find out the following information: Is there a neighborhood watch? How active is it? Are there any law enforcement officers living on the block? Is it an active neighborhood? Do the neighbors know and socialize with one another? This all important information that you can use in an initial conversation with a prospect to not only impress a legitimate prospect, but also deter a possible predator or opportunistic thief. Additionally, look for any abandoned houses in the immediate area. Even if the house you are showing is not abandoned, neighborhoods with abandoned houses may be more attractive to someone intending to commit a crime.
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Realtor Safety: Screening Prospects Before a Showing
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Realtor Safety: Setting Expectations in Your Marketing
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the fifth in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. The words you use in your marketing messages have connotations, which is to say that they have emotional value over and above their literal meaning. Those who commit crimes with a power motive are attracted to subservience and weakness because the "power high" is what they seek. Those who commit crimes with a profit motive are also attracted to subservience and weakness because it represents lower risk. In your marketing, choose words that convey power, control, knowledge, authority, etc. For example: "Here to serve all your real estate needs" vs."Experience to handle the entire real estate process" Notice that the first statement implies servitude, whereas the second statement implies confidence and power. Information to avoid in marketing Earlier, we mentioned that stalking behaviors give a predator a "high" in addition to potentially planning an attack. Consequently, you'll want to ensure that information you include in your marketing does not "feed the stalking high" or help a predator plan an attack in the event that someone does fixate on and target you. Limiting the "high" a predator can achieve through online stalking will increase the likelihood that he or she will lose interest.
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Realtor Safety: Reducing the Risk of Being Targeted
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Realtor Safety: Anatomy of a Crime
This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the third in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here. Having an understanding of the processes that are common to many crimes is essential to being able to take the guidelines and suggestions in this series and apply them to your own particular needs and each unique situation in which you may find yourself. All crimes have a beginning. In the case of premeditated crimes, that beginning is long before you are contacted. Power Motive Timeline 1. Initial focus - The crime begins when the predator first notices you. 2. Focusing behavior - Predator is seeking you out, typically online. 3. Fantasy - Predator begins to fantasize about you. Fantasies may be something as innocent and simple as a chance meeting or take on more complex and possibly even darker forms. 4. Research - Predator will engage in stalking behaviors, likely online, possibly in public. These stalking behaviors will often feel intoxicating to the predator and provide a "high." 5. Plan the meeting - At some point, the fantasy and stalking no longer provide the "high," and the predator will plan a meeting. It is at this point that they will decide on a location.
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Realtor Safety: Understanding Crime and Criminals
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Crime Prevention for Real Estate Agents: An Introduction
This is the first in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. All month long, we'll be publishing content from an educational course on Realtor Safety in partnership with safety app creator Real Safe Agent. Please consider sharing this important information with your colleagues, agents (for brokers), and membership (for MLSs and associations). Real estate agents face an entirely different set of challenges than the general population when it comes to safety. The general population stays safe by not being alone with strangers in areas hidden from the eyesight and earshot of others. However, this is how a real estate agent makes a living. The general population removes themselves from a situation where they begin to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but a real estate agent will keep himself/herself in a situation where he/she feels uncomfortable or unsafe because he or she does not want to risk losing the sale. These are calculated risks that a real estate agent makes in order to make a living, and therein lies the key to staying safe as a real estate agent: Evaluating the prospect, property, and circumstances Assessing the collective risk Reacting appropriately This course is designed to provide you with the knowledge of how to evaluate the prospect, property, and circumstances so you can assess the collective risk of all three and make better decisions about which actions are appropriate to minimize risk and keep yourself safe, as well as what can be done as a community do to keep each other safe.
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