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Don’t get caught by the phishing hook

April 18th, 2017

Untitled design (1)It’s spring home buying season, but that also means it’s phishing season, and not the kind that puts fresh trout on the dinner table. “Phishing” is an attempt to try to trick you to give up financial or other confidential information, such as your user ID or password, by sending you a communication that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization. The communication typically is from scammer who is using the name and likeness of a financial institution or other trustworthy organization. It contains a call to action or link to a fake website that can look identical to the real one and usually features a web address that is nearly identical.

As home sales activity heats up this spring, real estate agents and brokers also need to ramp up their alert levels and be increasingly aware of these scams. Scammers are increasing their focus on real estate because they know that there are millions of transactions totaling billions of dollars each year, and our industry relies heavily on email and texting to coordinate communications for these transactions. We all get busy, yet we need to be particularly cautious and keenly aware of any communications that ask for confidential information, no matter how trustworthy the source may appear.

A good example occurred in Florida earlier this year. A fake organization calling itself the “Florida Board of Realtors” sent out invoices to real estate professionals throughout the state, sending them a “Final Notice” bill. The attached letter suggested that their real estate licenses were in jeopardy unless they paid the annual $225 fee. The invoice even cites a Florida Statute in an attempt to establish legitimacy. This highly sophisticated scam even included links to a very professional-looking website. However, if you dug a little deeper, you would discover that most of the links on the website were broken – they did not work – and the blog content was very outdated. Fortunately, Florida Realtors were notified immediately by members and sent out a statewide alert to members. But how do you protect yourself from something like this, and other scams?

Read more…

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Are you getting the internet speed you paid for?

March 27th, 2017

1 high-speed-internetMany Internet Services Providers (ISP) promote lightning-fast internet speeds, but are you really getting the speed you paid for? Here are four components that may be preventing you from getting that lightning-speed promised.

Modem- If you use a modem, check with your ISP to see if you have a modem that can handle the fast speed you purchased. Whether you own the modem or are leasing it, if the modem can’t handle the speed, it may be time to upgrade your modem.

WATCH: This fun, albeit old, video explains the basics of what a modem does. Read more…

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Is Your Technology Slowing You Down?

March 23rd, 2017

Untitled design(2)How long has it been since you bought a new laptop or smartphone? Upgraded your Windows or Mac operating system software? Switched to a new, better web browser? If you’re like Michael Phelps in the Intel TV commercial – and the tech tools of your trade are more than two to three years old – then your technology is slowing you down.

At Tech Helpline, the real estate industry’s number one tech support service, we tapped the brainpower of our tech analysts to shed some light on this topic. They work with real estate agents every day and have a combined IT experience of nearly 300 years.

Here are the three big reasons you need to upgrade – and update – your technology. Read more…

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Beware of telephone scams claiming to be Tech Helpline.

March 17th, 2017

Phone Scam Alert

Please be careful of impostors claiming to be Tech Helpline representatives. For your security, please review this list of things that authentic Tech Helpline analysts will not do:

Tech Helpline analysts will not

  • Cold call individuals
  • Ask for payment over the phone
  • Ask for credit or debit card information
  • Ask for birthday, social security number, password, or other personal information
  • Tech Helpline will not call you to sell you our service over the phone

Tech Helpline is based in the United States. We only call you back if you are a member of our service and left us a message requesting it. And for verification purposes, we may ask for your Realtor’s information.

“Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams — from a few dollars to their life savings. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Some seem very friendly — calling you by your first name, making small talk, and asking about your family. They may claim to work for a company you trust, or they may send mail or place ads to convince you to call them.

If you get a call from someone you don’t know who is trying to sell you something you hadn’t planned to buy, say “No thanks.” And, if they pressure you about giving up personal information — like your credit card or Social Security number — it’s likely a scam. Hang up and report it.” ~Federal Trade Commission

To report fraud, please contact the proper authorities:

 

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4 Steps Brokers Can Take to Get Agents to Adopt Technology

March 14th, 2017

Tech-ToolsOne of the greatest struggles that broker-owners have with technology is getting their agents to use the technology tools they provide. On the other hand, many agents are suffering from tech fatigue with simply too many tech tools to learn, sometimes taking too much time to learn, none of them being integrated and often requiring too many different passwords to remember to access everything.

While brokers throughout the U.S. over many years have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in technology for their agents, many studies show that fewer than half of all agents are using the tech tools their broker provides. A study by the WAV Group (“Broker Tecnology Adoption and Satisfaction Study”) pointed to some of the reasons: Read more…

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How Can Brokers Meet Agents’ Tech Needs?

March 7th, 2017

Realtors using technologyWhat would you do if you lost access to your smartphone for a day? A week? What happens when you try to print out a copy of a CMA, and the printer stops and you can’t find the problem? What recourse do you have if you accidentally went to the wrong website and your laptop got infected with malware and has been slowing down ever since? Or what if you just can’t connect to wireless when you are on the move?

Keeping agents connected and their basic technology working is one of the most important things a brokerage can do to support their agents’ tech needs. Too often, it seems that brokers focus on solely their own technology solutions: how to get agents to adopt the various tech tools and software in which they’ve invested so much to provide.

But providing basic tech support – making sure real estate agents have a lifeline if they get stuck using their go-to technology, that their smartphone is getting email properly, that their laptops are optimized and virus-free, that if their printer doesn’t print there is someone to help fix it now, and not later – is of paramount importance as well.

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Author: Categories: Real Estate, Tech Support Tags:

6 Tips for Maximizing Battery Life (iOS 10)

February 28th, 2017

Our devices always seem to run out of battery exactly when we need them most. For that reason, this month we bring users of iOS 10 devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) 6 tips that can help you get more time between battery charges.

1. Optimize Location Services settings.

As a REALTOR on the go, you may use several apps that give you information about a specific location, such as the Weather app, or an MLS app that provides you with available listings in your area. These apps can give you location-based information because they use the Location Services feature of your device. Location Services is very useful, and you can take advantage of it without taxing your battery too much if you run it only when you are actively using the apps. Read more…

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3 Cool Apps to Help Real Estate Professionals Reach Their Fitness Goals in 2017

January 30th, 2017

Is improving your health and fitness a New Year’s resolution for you? For many real estate professionals, daily life is hectic, and finding time to focus on personal wellness is often challenging.  However, by putting your health first, you will find personal satisfaction that will not only benefit your well-being, but also with business successes. Here are three apps that can help busy professionals get started to improving their health in 2017: Read more…

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How The “Internet of Things” Affects Real Estate

January 5th, 2017

smart_homeGrowing interest in Wi-Fi connected gadgets as holiday gifts inspired us to write this article about Internet of Things (IoT). So today we cover IoT: what it is, how it affects real estate, and what to look for in the future.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The English Oxford dictionary defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.” For example, lights that can connect to your smartphone via internet so that you can turn them on or off wherever you are, even if not at home, wearable devices to track your sleeping habits, or self-driving cars. These everyday objects with internet connectivity aim to provide convenience and efficiency to the user by sensing, tracking and transmitting data. And because the growth in the industry has made such devices very affordable, they are proliferating. All these devices, regardless of who makes them, are categorized into the IoT concept.

How It Affects Real Estate

IoT gadgets for the home lead to Smart Homes. Did you get a Wemo Switch this year as a holiday gift? Or perhaps an Alexa-controlled Echo speaker? If you did, you are probably on your way to transitioning your home to a Smart Home. Smart Homes are homes “equipped with network-connected products”. In the real estate industry, perhaps you already started noticing clients who are more excited when they tour properties with “Smart Home Technology.” In these homes, devices communicate with each other – from the alarm clock to smart thermostats, fire alarms and security cameras.

 READ: Prep Agents with 6 Smart Home Facts

Read more…

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Best Practices for Shopping Online Safely

November 28th, 2016

E-commmobile-payment-customerce is great! It offers choices and convenience. And this holiday season, many of us will purchase gifts online for our loved ones. But there is no substitute to being a well-informed consumer. So, we put together a list of best practices to help you shop safely and confidently this holiday season. Read more…

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