Imagine if it was part of your job to make appointments with strangers and then go alone to meet them in empty houses.
Yet that is a daily routine for the more than 150,000 real estate agents and brokers. Close to 38 percent of them say they fear for their personal safety. Among female agents, the share is closer to half, according to a survey this year by the National Association of Realtors.
The most common fear-inducing situations are open houses, vacant or model home showings, properties that were unlocked or unsecured, and properties in remote areas. That concern is rising, as seven agents have been murdered between 2011 and 2015, the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now there is a new danger: drug addicts.
The nation's opioid crisis has put some real estate agents, especially those who represent higher-end properties, in the crosshairs. Addicts are posing as potential homebuyers and booking house tours in order to get access to medicine cabinets.
Forewarn, a subsidiary of Cogint, is a new company offering an app that will perform instant background checks on potential clients, akin to a police report.