The latest news stories have verified that showing a property alone is not as safe as it used to be. Real estate professionals have become targets for criminals who intend harm, or are looking for an easily accessible mark. To stay safe, the NAR recommends agents meet new clients in their office. Then asking them to produce their ID and photocopy it before showing properties.
The new app, Verify Photo ID is a mobile security app for real estate professionals. The app will scan a prospect’s photo ID and augment the information and images collected, along with data from other sources (including a national sex offenders list) to provide agents with the tools to decide if they want to confirm an appointment or not. If you use this app on iPhone or Android it will also provide a “Showing Monitor” with distress alarms and geo-location. It will also work with any tablet.
Nervous about asking for ID?
It’s the smart thing to do and many other businesses are already doing it.
Verify Photo ID suggests stating, “It’s my Broker’s policy that before we meet I photocopy your ID.” This takes the stress off of you, personally, and make it company policy, just like flying or renting a car.
You can send a link to your prospective client via text or email and they will be directed to the ID scanner in a browser window. The app will then retrieve the prospect’s full name, address, headshot image, height, weight, age, eye and hair colors. Then, this information is emailed to the agent.
Data pulled from gov’t databases
This information is also supplemented with data from other sources, including checking against a national sex offenders list. Verify Photo ID also matches the prospect’s address against property records. This allows the agent to weed out possible time wasters, or at least ask questions if the prospect is asking to look at expensive homes.
The app can also show links to prospect’s social profiles, offering additional information about who the agent is meeting. When the agent logs in, they have a pretty complete picture of who the prospect actually is. Armed with this additional intel, the agent gets to make an informed decision to confirm the appointment or not, with built in tools to confirm or deny an appointment by calling, texting or email.
A word of caution
Just an over-anxious word of caution from someone whose parents are both Realtors: even though this app is a step in the right direction as an added layer of security, every criminal has a clean record until they commit their first offense.
Even if the ID check comes back clean, please trust your own instincts.
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t go, or remove yourself from the situation. Verify ID is a great additional step to have in place for getting more information about a prospective client before you leave the office alone with them, but never doubt your own gut.