GSMAR is proud to offer our Primary and Secondary members Forewarn.
Forewarn is a powerful app for your phone that gives you potential life saving information at the touch of a button. REALTORS® will always have to show houses to potential buyers, it's a must. The question is, when you meet people at a house, do they have good or bad intentions once they get you there? With Forewarn you can check to see if that person you are about to meet is OK or not. Forewarn pulls data from public resources all over the internet and funnels it straight into your hands. Information like, phone history, address history, criminal records, court records, property records and vehicle history. Forewarn gives you the power of knowing the risks before walking into a potentially serious problem.
GSMAR is delighted to have been the forerunner of this program in Tennessee. Starting back in 2019, every member of GSMAR was given the opportunity to have this powerful tool included with their membership. Now, multiple associations across Tennessee give their members this wonderful product with their membership. We are proud to see the word spreading beyond GSMAR and hopefully, one day, all REALTORS® in Tennessee will have this wonderful safety tool at their disposal. Because, we believe, safety for our REALTORS® should be one of our main goals.
How Real Estate Agents Can Combat Fraud and Mitigate Risk
FOREWARN Activation Reminder
Fraud is not always easy to recognize with many fraudulent activities carried out online and difficult to trace. As virtual interactions and transactions increase, it becomes more important for businesses to have a plan in place to stay at least one step ahead of fraudsters. Many industries have adopted tools that aid in identity verification and risk assessment to combat fraud. Real estate should be no different.
Real estate transactions have changed over time – from newspaper listings to internet listings, home showings to virtual showings, paper contracts to electronic signatures, and cashier’s checks to wire transfers. And, with new technology comes new risks.
According to the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report, real estate-related Internet/cybercrimes accounted for over $221 million in losses for victims in 2019 alone, a 48% increase over 2018. To put that figure in perspective, that is double the loss from all credit card fraud in the same year. Identity theft also accounted for $160 million in loss in 2019, a 60% increase over 2018.
Fraud has been a major problem and is only getting worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. The FBI issued a Public Service Announcement in March 2020 to warn the public of an increase in fraud schemes related to the pandemic. The growing problem of fraud across industries reinforces the fact real estate agents need to be even more vigilant than ever.
With real estate transactions increasingly moving to virtual and remote models that limit in-person interactions, scammers may discover their virtual opportunities are more abundant and will appear more ‘normal’ than ever before. Having a prospective buyer or seller looking to complete a real estate transaction entirely over the phone and/or email will no longer be the rare exception that could have potentially raised red flags. With remote and virtual interactions on the rise, being able to decipher between actual prospects and scammers taking advantage of the situation is critical to the safety and success of your business.
It is now more important than ever to not only verify the identity of a prospective buyer or seller, but also anyone you are dealing with over the phone such as the title company or lender. With FOREWARN, real estate agents can verify a caller’s identity using the phone number they are calling from. FOREWARN gives you access to several data points for risk mitigation and identity verification, including property and vehicle records, criminal records, and financial information including bankruptcies, liens, and judgments to help you make informed decisions. If the person on the line is not who they say they are, you should see red flags.
If the name of the caller or the information they are sharing doesn’t match associated records, dig deeper. If the caller doesn’t want you calling them back on the same number, verify the information on the number they are calling from in case it was spoofed and verify the information on the number they want you to call them on. Being able to know the questions to ask to clarify and verify who you may or may not be working with may take an extra few minutes, but it can save you time, money, and potentially even save your life in the long-run.
While protecting yourself and your business from fraud, it is also important to let prospects know how you do business so they can be vigilant as well. Criminals can prey on your prospects, pretending to be part of the real estate transaction, sending them emails with your name, or fooling them into wiring payments to a different place. By letting prospects know what to expect, this can also serve as an added layer of safety against fraud.
While it may not be possible to prevent all fraud, performing your due diligence to verify someone’s identity and assessing potential risks should be part of the daily routine.
FOREWARN is not only a great tool for personal safety for home showings, but it is also essential for the well-being and financial safety of your business. Taking precautions is crucial. By verifying the identity of those you are working with, you can mitigate risk and help your business prosper.
Real Estate Safety News
In June, a real estate agent in Virginia was brutally attacked with a wrench at an open house. You can read the story here. It always saddens us to hear these stories. And, unfortunately, these stories are what get people's attention. Our goal will always be to support the real estate industry's right to safety. Asking for ID at an open house or prior to a meeting and checking the FOREWARN app only takes seconds. While this is a must, there should be several safety protocols in place including bringing someone along whenever possible (especially at an open house), never turning your back on a prospect, knowing all the exits, having a quick way to contact 911, and many more.
Carl Carter, Jr., Founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, recently appeared as the speaker for one of the National Association of REALTORS® safety webinars with great safety tips and he also shared a PDF resource of how you can ask for identification when meeting with potential clients. In addition to using FOREWARN, verifying physical identification is another essential component of knowing who you are working with.
FOREWARN Partners with Great Smoky Mountain Association of REALTORS®
Tennessee-based Association purchases FOREWARN services for its 400+ members to promote proactive agent safety
November 07, 2018 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FOREWARN, LLC, a red violet company (NASDAQ: RDVT), and the leading provider of real-time information solutions for real estate agents, today announced that the Great Smoky Mountain Association of REALTORS® (“GSMAR”) has contracted to make FOREWARN® services available for the 400+ REALTOR® members it serves in an effort to promote proactive real estate agent safety.
“FOREWARN is a powerful addition to what we already teach in regard to staying safe while working with new clients.”
Available both online and through a mobile application, FOREWARN analyzes billions of data points and provides users with the ability to mitigate risks by verifying identity, searching for criminal histories, and validating information provided by potential clients such as financial and asset information -- using just a phone number. FOREWARN allows agents to properly and safely plan for showings with a higher level of confidence.
The FOREWARN services purchased by GSMAR will be available to GSMAR’s entire 400+ REALTOR® membership at no additional cost to individual agents.
“We felt it was our duty to provide our members with tools that can help them stay safe in the field,” said Kathy Leedy, CEO of The Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors®. “FOREWARN is a powerful addition to what we already teach in regard to staying safe while working with new clients.”
Existing GSMAR members will receive specific instructions on how to move forward with activating their FOREWARN subscription.
All other real estate agencies and agents can learn more about FOREWARN at www.forewarn.com.
At FOREWARN, we bring knowledge to the real estate industry through innovative solutions to ensure safer engagements and smarter interactions. Leveraging powerful analytics and a massive data repository, our solutions enable real estate professionals to gain real-time knowledge, for purposes such as verifying identity, searching for criminal histories, and validating information provided by potential clients such as financial and asset information. Risk assessment and due diligence at your fingertips™.
About red violet®
At red violet, we believe that time is your most valuable asset. Through powerful analytics, we transform data into intelligence, in a fast and efficient manner, so that our clients can spend their time on what matters most -- running their organizations with confidence. Through leading-edge, proprietary technology and a massive data repository, our data and analytical solutions harness the power of data fusion, uncovering the relevance of disparate data points and converting them into comprehensive and insightful views of people, businesses, assets and their interrelationships. We empower clients across markets and industries to better execute all aspects of their business, from managing risk, conducting investigations, identifying fraud and abuse, and collecting debts. At red violet, we are dedicated to making the world a safer place and reducing the cost of doing business. For more information, please visit www.redviolet.com.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements,” as that term is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as “expects,” “plans,” “projects,” “will,” “may,” “anticipate,” “believes,” “should,” “intends,” “estimates,” and other words of similar meaning. Such forward looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that are often difficult to predict, are beyond our control and which may cause results to differ materially from expectations, including whether FOREWARN will help Great Smoky Mountain Association of REALTORS® stay safe in the field. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are based on our expectations as of the date of this press release and speak only as of the date of this press release and are advised to consider the factors listed above together with the additional factors under the heading “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in red violet’s SEC Filings. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
RELATED LINKS: www.forewarn.com
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