Cyber security and self-defense front and center for National Realtor Safety Month

by Timothy Inklebarger

Kara Cook (right), co-founder of Cook & James, and her marketing manager, Mary Jackson, practice hand-to-hand combat moves at the self-defense class for realtors offered by the firm on September 24 in Woodstock, Ga.

Real estate agents got an education on cyber security and self-defense in classes sponsored by Atlanta-based real-estate law firm Cook & James in observance of National Realtor Safety Month.
Cyber crime has plagued the industry for many years, and doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon. The law firm noted in a press release that American consumers lost almost $150 million in real estate scams in 2018.
Real estate professionals are often the best educators for their clients. That’s why the lunch-and-learn event covered “phishing, common scams in the real estate industry, how to analyze and identify a scam email, tips for avoiding wire fraud, and guidelines for wiring safety,” according to Kara Cook, co-founding partner at Cook & James.
“Cyber-crime is terrifying and such a big industry issue that, here at Cook & James, we devote a great deal of attention to educating not only our employees, but all our constituents about the dangers of fraud,” Cook said.
The dangers facing real estate professionals in the field are also unfortunately physical. The firm tapped Self Defense Atlanta to teach a class that equipped agents with training on what to do if a showing takes a wrong turn.
The woman-owned firm noted that agents can find themselves in potentially high-risk situations when traveling alone, showing properties at night or visiting unsafe neighborhoods.
“Since we pioneered at-home closings which quite literally take us anywhere that’s convenient for clients, we are always vigilant and conscious about personal safety,” said Cook & James co-founding partner Heather James. “It’s our goal to help agents learn practical skills and techniques to keep them not only safe, but happy and secure in their jobs day in and day out.”