Real Estate Agent Safety: Marketing and Personal Information
October 8th, 2014
Flashy personal marketing can be a great tool, but beware of the information you include in these materials. Some predators target real estate agents, especially females, they find through the agent’s marketing.
THE RISK: Marketing materials that contain photos of yourself may attract the attention of criminals. Police have found criminals circling real estate professionals’ photos in newspapers and marketing materials (Read one agent’s account of this.)
Avoid provocative photos in your marketing. Low-cut blouses, full-body photos, and looking over your shoulder in a sexy pose can send the wrong message to criminals. “Why do you have to have photos anyway? What are you selling?” asks one Realtor, who advises against ever using a photo for business reasons; she uses a caricature.
“You make a living meeting complete strangers in empty houses. They see your photo and if you’re exactly what they’re looking for — whether that be an older or younger agent, blonde hair, blue eyes, whatever — they know all it takes is one phone call to meet you in a house. A picture can be dangerous.”
Watch what you wear. Only wear shoes that you can run in. Avoid short skirts, low-cut tops, and expensive jewelry. “Predators don’t have the same boundaries as you do. They look at you like that and say ‘She’s asking for it,’” according to a personal safety expert.
Protect your personal information. Use your cell phone number and office address in your marketing so it can’t be tracked back to your home address. Never use your home address or home phone number. Also, don’t reveal to your client personal information about your children, where you live, and who you live with — you can still build a relationship with clients without revealing all of your personal information, recommends the Washington Real Estate Safety Council.