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Agents warned about sensitive data being included in listings

Agents are being warned about removing personal data and information from marketing material.

Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says that he has seen a small, but increasing number of consumer complaints relating to the inclusion of personal or sensitive data in marketing material, especially with agents now promoting a virtual experience before a face-to-face one.

He said: “During a virtual viewing or video, it is possible that personal data is captured on film, such as a document stuck on a fridge, papers left on a coffee table or photographs which would be best not to share, car registration numbers in photos or a number of other things that should not be shared online to the public or people viewing the property.

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“Of course, with the advancement of technology people can zoom in and see every little detail, something agents would not have had to think about before the inception of the virtual environment the sector finds itself in.  It is important to be aware of the danger of these potential data leaks and protect clients as much as possible.”

He reminded agents to check out the room before any photographs or filming takes place and check with the seller whether there is anything of a personal or sensitive nature in any room that they do not wish to be included.

Agents can also obtain software that can identify and blurs out personal or sensitive data.

Offley added: “Perhaps it’s just a case of raising awareness but hopefully early intervention will mitigate against any future claims and protect both agents and their clients from a potential data breach crisis.”

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    The agents that may get caught out by this are the same ones who never suggest that vendor clients put such things away in the first place i.e. poor attention to detail. Only takes minutes to ensure no personal information can be captured on film.

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