Do you love the ‘Like’ Button? If so, Proceed with Caution

Close-up of business group keeping thumbs up

Have you ever heard of “Like farming?” No? Neither did I until very recently (not that it’s new.) I thought it might be a good idea to spread the word on what this practice is and why you should be aware of it the next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed.

What is “Like farming?”
Here’s a good definition from ThatsNonsense.com:

“Facebook like-farming, in its simplest sense, is the process of attempting to get likes, shares and followers using exploitation, manipulation and/or deception.”

What this really means is that any time you like, comment or share something that you don’t quite know where it comes from, you’re at risk for being farmed.

Once these posts get a lot of “likes,” the scammers behind the posts are then able to start posting spam that shows up in your news feed or links to more malicious sites that might try and steal your personal and/or financial information.

What Can You Do?
The simple answer is really read what your scrolling past and understand where it comes from before hitting “Like.” Don’t fall for the emotional photos or posts that tug at your heart strings and ask you for something such as “help me reach one million likes” or “comment on this photo and see what happens.” The list goes on.

And finally, just because you like something doesn’t mean you have to “Like” it.

For more information, here are some good articles the explain the scam in greater detail.
Everything you need to know about Facebook Like-Farming by Craig Charles, thatsnonsense.com
Don’t click ‘like’ on Facebook again until you read this by Kim Komando, Komando.com
Why You Should Be Careful About What You ‘Like’ On Facebook by Amit Chowdhry, Forbes.com

MAR President responds to Boston Globe Editorial ‘Pass the home energy audit measure’

Yesterday (7/28/16), the Boston Globe published an editorial in favor of mandatory energy inspections and grades “Pass the home energy audit measure.”

While MAR supports the goals of the bill to bring more energy efficiency to the Commonwealth, the Association opposes provisions that call for mandatory energy inspections and grades prior to a home being listed for sale. Below is the letter to the editor submitted to the Boston Globe by MAR President Annie Blatz in response to the editorial. For more information on MAR’s position, go to www.NoEnergyGrade.com

If only it were that ‘simple’

Annie Blatz, 2016 President, Massachusetts Association of Realtors® and Branch Executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate, Cape Cod.

As a Realtor® for over 31 years and the 2016 president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®(MAR), I vehemently disagree with the Boston Globe’s editorial “Pass the home energy audit measure.”

Realtors® support energy efficiency and actively promote the voluntary Mass Save program to clients on both sides of a transaction. Common sense tells us to allow buyers to request the information that they find important, not mandate a one-size-fits-all program.

The Globe is correct that the consumer should be protected when buying a home. In fact, they already are. A buyer is free to have a home inspection, to request utility bills and have an energy audit done. No other attribute of a home is scored by the government.

What this bill will do is add another layer of bureaucracy and delays to an already complicated real estate transaction. This isn’t good for the economy or our inventory-starved state.

Finally, despite what the Globe believes, these requirements would negatively impact low- and moderate-income homebuyers. It’s not “concern-trolling” on our part, it’s the experience of over 22,000 members dealing first-hand with the unintended consequences of past “simple” requirements.

What’s being said in the media: Future Indicators Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the articles and posts that resulted in the release of our September 2015 Future Indicators Report. We’ll continue to update this post as more articles come in.

Wednesday, September 14, 2015

Real estate: Massachusetts pending sales, prices up
Masslive.com

Massachusetts Home Buying Remains Strong through ‘Back-to-School’ Season in September
RealEstateRama.com

Thursday, September 15, 2015

Mass. pending home sales remain strong
Sentinel & Enterprise

 

 

 

What’s being said in the media: June Closed Sales

 

Here are the articles and posts that resulted in the release of our June 2015 Closed Sales Release. We’ll continue to update this post as more articles come in.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

June home sales soar in Bay State: Could mean a ‘big year’
Boston Herald

Mass. Realtors report growth in closed home sales
Morning Brief – Mortgage Professionals of America

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rising inventory lifts home sales 11.4% in June
Boston Globe

Massachusetts Home Sales Surge in June 2015, Prices Up Modestly
Boston Home Buyer Education Blog – Boston.com

Massachusetts homes sales soar last month for best June in a decade
Fox Business News (via Associated Press)

Active Spring Market Pushed Massachusetts Closed Home Sales Up in June
RealEstateRama Blog

Massachusetts home sales in June hit highest level in 10 years
State House News Service

The Wednesday Word on Monday: Blizzard Juno Edition

(Please note: The following blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; and Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel. Edited by Christine Howe, Legal Affairs & Finance Administrative Assistant)

8489997200_dc336126fe_z
Via Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/unnormalized/) Steven & Courtney Johnson & Horwitz

To help prepare for the Blizzard Juno, it is important to remember what our responsibilities are regarding removal of snow and ice from our properties.

LANDLORDS AND TENANTS – Who is responsible for snow removal?

The usual rule is that it is the responsibility of the homeowner or landlord to keep means of entry and exit free of snow and ice. The State Sanitary Code provides that, “the owner shall maintain all means of egress at all times in a safe, operable condition and shall keep all exterior stairways, fire escapes, egress balconies and bridges free of snow and ice.”

If the residence has its private entry, the Sanitary Code allows the landlord to allocate the responsibility of maintaining such egress to the tenant. Be sure to review the lease to determine who is responsible to keep exclusive means of egress clear of snow.

PROPERTY OWNERS – Who is responsible for injuries?

In terms of liability, the 2010 SJC ruling of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. expanded the duty of property owners to remove snow and ice from their property, and held that Massachusetts property owners have a duty to use “reasonable care” for the protection of visitors, and are thus legally responsible for the removal of snow and ice from their property.

Among the steps that every property owner should take are to:

(1) Review insurance policies to be sure that there is adequate coverage
(2) Determine whether contractors or others hired to remove snow and ice have insurance
(3) Be vigilant when there is newly fallen snow or when temperatures allow melting and refreezing

If complete clearing is not possible, warning signs may be appropriate. Clients that have specific questions regarding their duty to clear snow should consult with their attorney.

Above all, remember is to be safe. Here are just a few tips for staying safe after a storm from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:

After a Winter Storm

  • Do not become a ‘spectator’. Continue to stay off streets and roads to allow plowing and clean-up operations to proceed smoothly.
  • Clear exhaust vents from Direct Vent Gas Furnace Systems to avoid Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. Also, never run an automobile until the exhaust pipe has been cleared of snow.
  • Make sure emergency generators or secondary heating systems are well ventilated.
  • Safely reduce the amount of snow on roofs.  The stress caused by heavy wet snow can challenge the integrity of the structure. For more, see Roof Collapse & Storm Drain Safety Information webpage.
  • If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.
  • Call 2-1-1 for non-emergency storm-related questions.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and neighbors who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

The Wednesday Word: National Association of REALTORS® releases new resources on Internet security

(Please note: The following blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; and Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel. Edited by Christine Howe, Legal Affairs & Finance Administrative Assistant)

Keeping yourself safe on the internet is important. We are happy to report that NAR’s Information Central has released a three-part report that recommends a number of security practices to help keep REALTORS® and their business safe online. The new Internet Security Best Practices Guide covers three areas:

Locks
Photo by David Bleasdale – Flickr
  • Basics of internet security including descriptions and differences between the various “buzzwords” (i.e. phishing, malware, Trojan horse)
  • How to prevent malware installation and successful phishing
  • What to do when you have been hacked?

The Best Practices Report is available here: Internet Security Best Practices report

To learn more about Data Privacy and Security, including political advocacy, please visit this website: NAR’s Data Privacy & Security webpage