Phishing in Real Estate
A key practice to protect yourself and your customers from a scam is education. When I was asked by Janet Sowers of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM) to present at a session on “Beware of the Phish! Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions,” there was only one response. Phishing? Absolutely, YES!
RASM’s Realtor Attorney Joint Committee sponsored this educational session for its members. The session included presentations from Christopher C. Morrison, Esq., Lisa G. Moore, Esq., and me. We were to focus on educating members on phishing and wire transfer fraud in real estate.
I always enjoy an opportunity to aid my fellow colleagues in creating awareness and to educate in any type of technology. Phishing is one of those topics where an elevated level of caution protects us and our customers from bad people. And, yes, I do hold a Florida real estate sales associate license.
My partner, Marilyn Wilson, wrote an article last September titled, “Phishing: Preventing the Bait and Hook in the Pond of Security for Brokers”. A great article that outlines various methods to aid in the prevention of becoming a victim of phishing scams. Phishing is not going away and is continuing to escalate. Real estate and title industries have become the honey hole for phishing. Protect yourself with education, knowledge, and awareness.
As a licensed real estate sales associate, I receive a lot of phone calls and emails about my status as an agent. This last week, I had an experience with a recruiting phone call that raised some critical questions about the direction of our industry.
I was working in my office when my mobile began to ring. My mobile only displayed a local phone number and not the name of someone in my contact list. I did not follow my own best practice to not answer calls unless a name from my contact list displays on the device.
Quick tip – Phishing scams also include calling your phone number. If a name from your contact list doesn’t display, it means it is unsolicited, so let the call go to voicemail. If it is important, the caller will leave a message.
After greeting the caller, I could easily hear and detect that the call was from a call center. Plenty of other voices in the background, the quality of the audio, and the first sentence were all a dead giveaway!
The context of the call was to schedule a meeting with a broker to discuss opportunities of joining a national brokerage firm who is a public company. I was further surprised when the dialogue included that the opportunity was available because of my production.
I don’t sell!
Referring business once in a while to my colleagues is all I do with my license. What it does, is affords me the ability to take part at the local, state, and national committees as a real estate technologist. My license also gives me the ability to be part of the selling and listing process with my colleagues.
At first, I was upset and troubled – especially since I did not follow my own rule about answering unsolicited phone calls. A brand who I had admired because of their technical savvy, used a very old school, non-personal way to recruit me.
After a few days, once the dust settled, I began to have questions about this approach in recruiting agents.
Was this approach typical across the brand or practice by the local broker manager? I hope it is the latter. If it isn’t, is this approach still valid for brands in recruiting agents? How effective is it?
At Inman Disconnect, customer service was a key takeaway from the Parker Principle. Where does recruiting agents fall into the industry’s customer service principles? Agent’s are customers to the brokerage, correct?
What I wish I had done instead of saying ‘No’ and hanging up the phone, was to schedule a meeting with the broker manager. I could have used the opportunity to ask these and many more questions.
What do you think about the different styles that brokerages are using today to recruit agents?
The WAV Group has experience in speaking engagement in technology, marketing, and industry topics and initiatives. Contact Victor Lund, Marilyn Wilson, or David Gumpper to schedule a time to discuss your speaking engagement needs. Firms may schedule a private WAV Group overview for their executive team or board by contacting Camilla Harvey at Camilla@WAVGroup.com.
Great article David. The problem with Phishing is just getting worse and worse, so thanks for helping educate. Recruiting should be personal, not dialing for dollars. It’s very much like we would like agents to be with their clients. You want to work with people who make a personal effort to understand your unique needs and fit for collaboration with you.
Thank you very much. I agree that Phishing is getting worse and more clever in their tactics. It means more attention to best practices must be followed by all, including your personal accounts. As for the recruiting, there are no shortcuts in building relationships. I am just wondering what the conversion rate for the brokerage who cold called me.