For over a year, we at Golden Real Estate have had access to an app that is only available to licensed real estate professionals for the purpose of protecting our clients (and us) from would-be criminals or scammers.
The app is called Forewarn, and it enables us to trace any phone number within seconds to verify the age, address, criminal record and other information about the caller.
At right is a screen shot from the app when I enter my own cell number, showing the many categories of information available for any person identified using the app. I urge my broker associates to use the app themselves or ask me to use it when they want to verify the background of any stranger who asks them to set up a showing. Any Realtor who joins Golden Real Estate has free access to this information to assist clients and for their personal safety.
We originally subscribed to this service to protect ourselves — especially our female agents — following the murder of a Louisiana agent by a person posing as a buyer. However, we have learned that it’s a service that could help clients and us from being scammed.
This app is not available to people outside the real estate profession, and any agent who applies for the app is also screened so the tool does not get into the hands of the wrong people.
We use this app to protect our clients from scammers who are increasingly targeting homeowners as well as home buyers.
As explained by Forewarn, fake internet listings, fake homeowners or sellers, and fake investors are just some of the reasons working with a real estate agent who has purchased this app can help buyers and sellers avoid scammers and avoid potentially losing thousands of dollars.
According to the FBI, there were 11,300 victims of fraud involving real estate in 2018, with victims losing almost $150 million We can use the app to verify the identity of anyone pretending to be a landlord, seller, buyer or renter. If we don’t have a phone number for the person, we can use the app to look them up by their name and city. If it’s an unusual name, we don’t even need the city, just the state.
Perhaps you, like so many, have received phone calls, letters or postcards from investors or individuals offering to buy your home. Homeowners have very few resources for verifying such a person’s identity or legitimacy. With this app, we can help you verify a buyer’s identity, and verify their financial history (bankruptcies, liens, judgments), while helping you get the best price for your home. On the other side, there are real estate investors being scammed as well. Being able to quickly verify identity and property ownership may help reduce the chance of fraud.
There are plenty of fraudulent activities in the real estate industry. Using the app, not only to verify prospects but also the other parties involved in a transaction, can reduce financial risk for you as well as bring to light fake identities.
There are so many kinds of scams that we can help you avoid. It’s one of the ways that our broker associates and I can add significant value to each real estate transaction and to our community.
As Realtors, we have many other resources available to us, such as an app which provides detailed information about properties anywhere in America, including the name of the owner(s) and estimated valuation.
This is another reason to work with a broker from Golden Real Estate. Call one of us today!