The Internet knows where you live.
Several years ago, I was working with a buyer from Virginia, when the contract fell apart because the home had radon. I issued the mutual release and was waiting for the seller to sign and return it, while the buyer went back home to Virginia to regroup. I kept sending the buyer information on other potential homes and asking which ones he wanted to see when he returned to St Louis. Suddenly, he stopped responding to me. Emails, texts, phone calls – nothing elicited a response. I had no idea what was going on, until the seller’s Realtor brought the mutual release to my office and, while handing it to me, said “Are you SURE the buyer’s haven’t changed their minds? My seller was positive after he talked to the wife that they would still buy the home.”
Seller talked to the wife??? A few questions later, I had found out that the seller, knowing the buyer’s name and address from his preapproval letter, had googled the buyer’s, found out their home phone number and called them directly. Now I understood why the buyer was “ghosting me”. He thought I had given the seller his home phone number and allowed the seller to call and harass his wife who didn’t want to move to St Louis in the first place!
At that point, I left messages on all of the buyer’s numbers and emails, explaining that I had not given the seller the information, and then step by step explaining to the buyer how the seller had used google to find his home phone number.
While the buyer didn’t buy that home, he did buy a home from me.
I was reminded of that incident when someone posted on Next Door recently, complaining about the phone calls, emails, and text messages that they now got from Realtors along with direct mailing and demanding to know “How They Got My Contact Information!!”
It’s so much easier now then it was years ago. While, if you are trying to find one specific person’s information, you google them, if a company or salesperson for ANY industry, not just Real Estate, wants to send out a mass email, or text message or computer generated phone call, they can simply go to one of hundreds of companies that collect, refine and sell data to get a list.
How do they get your information in the first place? From tax records, county real estate records, any place you EVER gave your information to from the free prize drawing booth at the county fair to registering your car or signing up at a store to get coupons or notifications about sales. Anywhere that you have given your information at any time, can be found online. My son hasn’t lived in St Louis for over 20 years, but we just got a phone call on our home phone from a contractor wanting to sell him an IT program. He recently got a postcard from a Realtor urging him to sell the family farm that HE DOESN’T OWN, my husband and I own. He’s not on title, he’s NEVER lived at that address, but they still linked it to him.
I don’t even have to buy your information, it’s provided to me for free through several legitimate organizations that I belong to.
There was a documentary on Netflix recently called the Social Dilemma that pointed out very graphically that if you can’t figure out how a company online is making money, then you are probably their product. They are selling you to advertisers on their website. They are selling your data to other companies. They are mining your data. They are selling YOU.
If you have not watched the documentary, you need to. It talks not only about how you are the product, but how the social media companies have learned to manipulate you psychologically to get you to pay more attention to them then to the people around you and the negative impact that social media has on you, even if you can’t recognize it.
CNN did an interview on the documentary that can be found at https://www.today.com/video/netflix-documentary-the-social-dilemma-unveils-psychological-manipulation-used-by-social-networks-92775493909