How This Startup Is Trying to Save Real Estate Professionals From Hidden Risks
By Maggie Wilson @ Real Estate daily
April 19, 2018

Overview

Social media platforms help real estate agents showcase their listings to the world, but it also can expose them to criminals and other people with bad intentions. Given this threat, agents need to be very cautious when posting information online and also when accepting invitations to connect with possible clients.

Trust Stamp, a startup company, was created with the goal of protecting business people and real estate professionals from potential risks. They do this by screening potential clients and giving them a “trustworthiness score” based on their social media accounts and public data about the individual. This score can then help agents decide whether or not to form a business relationship with the person.

Key Takeaways

  • When connecting with a potential client on social media, real estate professionals need to use the same precautions that they would when encountering the person face to face.
  • Agents should separate their business and personal social media accounts, and only share personal information with those they have chosen to connect with and trust.
  • Trust Stamp is a startup that searches through potential clients’ online connections and social media to determine their trustworthiness.
  • Real estate agents who choose to use Trust Stamp are encouraged to use it alongside other information about the person when deciding if they should pursue a business relationship.

Excerpt

Your cellphone rings, and the caller wants your help to buy a home. Or a visitor at an open house expresses interest in visiting other properties with you. Do you proceed?

Chances are your first impression of people will guide these decisions. Among the questions that may be running through your mind: Did they come your way through a referral from someone you know and like or find you out of the blue? Are they associated with an organization you are familiar with? Does their tone of voice or body language give you pause? In short, do they seem trustworthy?

When you’re deciding whether to connect with someone who reaches out to you on social media, many of the same kinds of clues apply. That reality gave rise to a startup company, Trust Stamp, that aims to help business people, including real estate pros, stay safer on the job. The company has launched a tool that instantly verifies prospective clients’ identity and gauges their trustworthiness based on their online connections.

Trust Stamp works by evaluating a person’s photo, social media accounts, and information in public databases to confirm their identity and assign a “trustworthiness score.” To use Trust Stamp, you’ll ask prospective clients to provide their photo, ID, and a link to a personal social media account before agreeing to a face-to-face meeting. Indeed, for people who have bad intentions, just the requirement to provide all that information could be a deterrent.

“Truth, honesty, and decency are the same online as in the real world,” says Gareth Genner, a cybersecurity expert who co-founded Trust Stamp in 2015. Genner says Trust Stamp’s service—which is available as a free benefit to REALTORS®—builds on the idea that the more reputable and plentiful people’s online connections are, the more likely they are to also be who they claim to be. Trust Stamp also examines factors such the length and number of a person’s relationships and their recommendations on services like LinkedIn to assess trustworthiness.

Of course, relying on a single tool to decide whether someone is safe isn’t advisable. As with a credit score, you should use a trustworthiness score with other information to decide if you want to pursue a business relationship with anyone.

Real Estate News: View the original article at Realtor Magazine