Safety Concerns: Do Agents Need To Be So Accessible?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc
Safety Concerns: Do Agents Need To Be So Accessible?
by Robert Siciliano

Real estate sales can feel like a continual popularity contest. Obviously you, as agents, are much more than that. Of course you want buyers and sellers to think of you when its time to make a move. Agents place ads in the real estate section of the local paper. You put your photos and contact information on signs. Some of you even rent billboards.
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And now, with the Web, you include your listings on your brokers' sites and your own personal pages. Your memberships are posted on all the association websites, boards, WCR, states, chamber of commerce etc. Some of you even have blogs.

You're everywhere.

Recent reports from San Diego, Calif., about a stalker calling agents on their cell phones to make threats confirms the notion that agents need to put up a barrier between their business lives and personal lives.

Google yourself, see what they see, almost anyone can find you online. They can find out where you live, too. If you're listed in the white pages or phone book, then the simple act of plugging your name and state into Google sometimes brings up enough information to get your hometown. Once they have this information, they can Google your name and town to get your home phone with a map to where you live. All on Google.

Creepy?

If you can do this, then the person who stalked agents in Southern California can, too.

Most agents business cards have up to seven phone numbers: business phone, direct, toll free, office, and fax. And there's more. They also have home phone, home fax, and cell phone numbers. Agents' Web sites aren't much different.

The real issue here is when you provide your personal cell or home phone number. Once you do this, a stalker can easily do a reverse search and find out your home address. That includes your cell number, which can also be traced.

Instead, use a toll-free number. It can't be reverse searched.

All an agent needs is one toll-free number pointed to your office line that can't be reverse searched. With "no-answer-busy" call-forwarding technology, that can then be directed to voice, cell, home or an answering service. You no longer need to give out so many numbers. The redundancy which is unnecessary also makes you vulnerable.

Set it up so your voicemail states "I'll return the call within 90 minutes." Most of the time you can answer the phone or return the call within 5 minutes.

If you've been stalked or suspect you might be stalked, change your business card to show only your company name, toll-free number, and a variation of your first name. Your ads and websites should follow suit. Take your name out of the phonebook. Then Google yourself to find out what information is out there and contact the website to remove whatever might make you vulnerable.

Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal copyright laws.

Robert L. Siciliano is the author of The Safety Minute, Safety Zone Press, and a professional speaker on the topic of self defense and personal and property protection. He has been featured on CNN, Montel Williams, Sally Jesse, and the Howard Stern radio show. Robert is available to speak to brokers, associations, and to conduct seminars and workshops for industry events. Visit his Web site at www.realtysecurity.com or contact him at robert@realtysecurity.com

This article originally appeared on RealtyTimes.com Published: August 10, 2005 http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20050810_safetyconcern.htm
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Rainer
42,764
Anona Large
Realty Executives Associates - Oak Ridge, TN
Oak Ridge, TN Real Estate

When you over think on this issue, it is creepy.   My voice mail specifies if it is after 7:00 I will return their call the following day.... even though I always answer. 

When it comes to safety, my policy is to have the buyer meet me at the office so I may have a copy of their ID and submit to the front who I am with and where we are headed. 

Feb 08, 2008 09:37 AM #1
Rainmaker
439,469
Robert Siciliano
IDTheftSecurity.com Inc - Boston, MA
Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker

"When it comes to safety, my policy is to have the buyer meet me at the office so I may have a copy of their ID and submit to the front who I am with and where we are headed. "

Exactly.  When inviting someone into the office, it decreases the likelyhood they are a bad guy, but it doesnt mean they are harmless. Always be on guard.

Robert Siciliano

www.RealtySecurity.com

 

Feb 08, 2008 09:48 AM #2
Rainer
13,655
Brian Bender
Perry Wellington Realty - Altoona, PA
Your 24 Hour Realtor
this is a great subject ,as it was in our office this week,, !! agent beware
Feb 08, 2008 11:49 AM #3
Ambassador
528,394
Konnie Mac McCarthy
Realty Direct, LLC/Realty Direct, Inc. - Mc Lean, VA
Associate Broker - VA & MD
I have actually had someone call me..and he was very creepy....my information is out there all over the place I am not sure how to reel it all in now...
Feb 08, 2008 09:41 PM #4
Rainmaker
180,245
Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee California
Robert, This has always been a great concern to me personally as the former general manager of a large brokerage I was constantly telling my agents not to give out their home phone numbers and to never meet a unknown client at a property.Happens with sign calls all the time and the agents are afraid to lose a potential buyer but they throw their personal saftey out the window.
Feb 08, 2008 10:01 PM #5
Rainer
124,307
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate

I ask loads of questions before I make the appointment. Sometimes, it is just not practical to have a new prospect meet me at the office first.  I follow the basics, know your exits, never lead up the steps or down the steps, if anything feels wrong - GET OUT!

What else am I missing??

Feb 09, 2008 02:07 AM #6
Rainmaker
439,469
Robert Siciliano
IDTheftSecurity.com Inc - Boston, MA
Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker

"agents are afraid to lose a potential buyer but they throw their personal saftey out the window."

DONT PUT DOLLAR SIGNS IN FRONT OF YOUR PERSONAL SECURITY!!  The "it cant happen to me" syndrome is what makes agents throw their personal saftey out the window.

 

"I ask loads of questions before I make the appointment. Sometimes, it is just not practical to have a new prospect meet me at the office first.  I follow the basics, know your exits, never lead up the steps or down the steps, if anything feels wrong - GET OUT!"

 

Great questions. Most can be answered here:  You gotts  read up!!  http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/robertsiciliano.htm

 

 

Feb 09, 2008 04:59 PM #7
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