The SCR attorneys have been discussing the benefits and risks of using FOREWARN. Everything has benefits and risks.

First, the benefits. FOREWARN rapidly searches many public databases for public information on potential real estate consumers. FOREWARN information used in compliance with laws and rules can be an important part of your overall safety plan. REALTORS® often meet strangers for showings, sometimes in isolated, vacant locations. So, there is risk and risk management.

FOREWARN risks currently include potential fair housing risks, no database is 100% accurate, no database search system is 100%, people with no past criminal record can commit crimes in the present, there are consumers with similar names, there are consumers using fake identification, FOREWARN searches USA databases but not overseas databases, past criminals may have turned their lives around, in our society criminals do their time and are re-integrated into society, the justice system is not 100% accurate, policing is not 100% accurate, not all crimes carry the same risks, some crimes might carry to much risk to safely ignore, time changes situations and people, etc.

SCR recommends always using FOREWARN on all consumers to contribute to your overall safety program and to help defend you against fair housing discrimination accusations of only using FOREWARN on certain fair housing protected classes (e.g., males, race, color, national origin).

Deterrence is part of your overall safety program, so getting images of identification and persons and vehicles and tags can help deter crimes of opportunity. Ditto meeting consumers at your office with office witnesses. Showings and staffing open houses in groups of two or more can deter crimes of opportunity.

Your mobile phone is your safety device. Keep it charged.

Physical safety and protection are risk management.

You and your brokerage and your brokerage attorney can decide on your own business model, policy, or plans for safety and how you use FOREWARN or other negative information on consumers.

Some might decide not to work with the consumer.

Some might refer the consumer to another brokerage for money.

Some might work with the consumer while keeping a close eye on the transaction for any red flags.

Some might work with the consumer and bring along a colleague to showings for additional safety.

Because the information may not be 100% accurate and all SCR members have the FOREWARN member benefit, you might not choose to communicate or post negative information about a consumer to others or on social media, etc. as a defense to slander/libel.

FOREWARN reports thwarting some of the fake seller’s vacant land sales scams where overseas or domestic organized advanced crooks try to masquerade as the deeded owner online.

FOREWARN and tax records provide additional points of contact with the real seller (e.g., phone, email, address) as does the HOA and perhaps neighbors, so the potential listing brokerage can perhaps detect fake sellers sooner in the interaction or transaction.

Other scams use fake landlords, fake property managers, fake paralegals, fake lawyers, fake buyers…so FOREWARN can similarly help thwart those scams and crimes too (e.g., wire fraud, scrape listings into fake rentals).

Please share your thoughts and experiences with FOREWARN to SCR.

Please share your positive and negative interactions with FOREWARN too.

If you have some risk management ideas about FOREWARN and the overall REALTOR® safety ideas, please communicate them with SCR.

Be safe, professional, and profitable out there!

Posted by: Byron King on 03/14/23 (This information is only accurate as of 03/14/23. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 03/14/23 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at or email byron at

This information is not legal advice. This information is intended only to provide general information and may not be relied upon as specific legal guidance. Legal counsel should always be consulted before acting in reliance on this information.