Does a profile picture endorse our own letter of recommendation?
By proactively utlizing the social media and stamping our profile pictures on each and every personal and aggregate websites, blogs and picture-sharing sites such as Pinterest and Google, we mulitply our face exposure exponentially.
My follow up questions would be: “To whose desk this letter of recommendation most likely would land?; “What type of employers/prospects catch your attention?; “And are these employers/prospects legitimate or dangerous?”
Indubitably, we Active Rainers recognize the advantages of face recognition. These are notable in the blogs by Ginny Gorman of Kingston, RI: “What Face Recognition Gains for You,” and by Bryan Tutas of Florida, “Get Your Face Out There to Get More Listings.”
Gorman and Tutas stated the obvious to fortify that there are legitimate prospects that Face Exposure attracts. What remains unanswered are the types of prospects, e.g., demographics, which are generally or specifically drawn to them. I will try to dissect the possible legitimate types in my next blog.
What could be equally pervasive as the legitimate leads are the dangerous species. In 2010, a scam frenzy erupted via Trulia.Trulia was inundated by inquiries and encounters by real estate agents with scams sparked by foreign-based buyers who lured the real estate agents into to-good-to-be-true real estate purchases. The scammers masked their true identities with farcical names such as Miki Watanabe, Seiichiro Matsubayashi, Fukuhara Kazuhiko, etc,.
For more elaborated exchanges among realtors, here is Joe Bryson’s Blog posted in 2010 and Pacita Dimacali’s well-documented blog on how the scammer attempted to establish authencity. Pacita provided samples of documents which could have lead unsuspecting victims into the scammers’ modus operandi. This year, I received a similar inquiry via different website which I dismissed as quickly as I read it.
These scams are not as SCARIER as the more personal inquiries such as phone calls from unknown callers.Getting a call from perverts in any given time of the day could trigger the sensibility in our system more sharply than ever before. You heard it. There are PERVERTS out there who have nothing better to do but to disturb others by their disturbed behavior. When I got this type of call the first time, I was shocked that I put the phone down abruptly. The second time, I was not fazed. After listening to his speaking twisted mind, I told him, “Why don’t you unblock your number so I can hunt you down and chop your #$%^& to pieces.”. You could have handled it differently but those were my words that came out right there and then. It did not matter how and what I said. What matters is that it worked. Never did I hear from this deranged fellow again.
I am quite sure that most of you have received phone calls requesting for a showing on any of your listings. Have you screened them over the phone? If something seems off but you are uncertain if it is indeed a bad lead, use your common sense. There are predators who are very good at responding to prequalification or screening questions.
Let us say that your lead passed the screening over the phone but your instinct tells you otherwise– this is a situation when a caller requested a showing for one of your listings and if you are a female agent–ask one of your male colleagues or male friend to call the lead and tell him that he will be showing the property in your behalf because of conflict of schedule. The response could be a resounding “NO PROBLEM.” Afterwards, make a follow up phone call. Don’t be surprised if you did not get a call back.
Remember, female agents are not the only likely victims. Mellisa Ditmman Tracy back in 2010 has enumerated Real Estate’s 6 Most Dangerous Everyday Situation. This is a must-read article as it does not only identify the risky situations you could possibly encounter but it also provides safety tips for different scenarios.
Always exercise caution and common sense. Try to bring portable defense with you at all times during showings. In some parts of the country, a tazer is allowed. My son gave me this gadget as a Christmas gift. However, this gadget paralyzes the attacker for good twenty seconds only. This was the information I got from a reliable source.
Therefore, do not park on the driveway where your attacker can block your way out. Park on the street facing the road to escape the scene.You don’t have to run as fast as Forrest Gump. But in this type of situation, you can probably beat Forrest’s record.
I have no doubt in my mind that the social media makes us more vulnerable and by sharing your experiences on how you protect yourself in your daily dealings will help each and everyone of us in the industry safer. In ending, remember to:
Always err on the side of caution.
“Better be safe than sorry,”