• The startup combines driver’s license analysis and "proof-of-liveness photographic identification techniques" with social media data and public records, including criminal and sex offender records, to verify a person's identity and create a "trustworthiness score."

As several real-life horror stories have shown, Realtors can put themselves in harm’s way if they show homes to strangers.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has taken another step toward addressing the problem by backing a startup, Trust Stamp, that provides identity verification to agents meeting new clients or strangers.

Industry demand is so high that NAR expects that close to half of all Realtors will be using the service within a year.

What’s Trust Stamp do?

Trust Stamp combines driver’s license analysis and “proof-of-liveness photographic identification techniques” with social media data and public records, including criminal and sex offender records, to verify a person’s identity and create a “trustworthiness score.”

Under a partnership between Trust Stamp and NAR, Realtors can use a real estate-specific website or mobile app powered by Trust Stamp to enter an individual’s email address or cell phone number and invite the person to make a Trust Stamp.

It takes a few minutes for individuals to create a basic profile with a photo of their driver’s license, selfie and links to one or more social accounts.

Agents receive a notification when a Trust Stamp is completed with an individual’s verified name, photo and “trustworthiness score.”

Realtors can create their own Trust Stamp profiles for free, but they have to pay to view Trust Stamps from prospective clients.

NAR announced today that it made a “strategic investment” in Trust Stamp through its venture arm, Second Century Ventures.

“As a result of the investment Trust Stamp created a unique process (and applications) for Realtors and was able to make that process free,” said NAR spokeswoman Sara Wiskerchen. “Without the investment, the process would have been a paid service.”

Trust Stamp has also committed to “always provide paid services to Realtors at the lower cost offered to any enterprise,” she said.

NAR agrees with Trust Stamp CEO Andrew Gowask’s estimate that over a half million Realtors will have installed the Trust Stamp app within 12 months, Wiskerchen said.

Trust Stamp says it also uses blockchain technology to store and access data that is immune to the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that plague many internet companies. In October, a DDoS attack put dozens of high-profile websites, including real estate sites, out of commission for hours.

The NAR investment

NAR CEO Dale Stinton calls Trust Stamp “an easy-to-use online and mobile tool — that’s also powerful” and “ideal to improve [agents’] business and personal safety.”

The startup is one of eight companies that enrolled in NAR’s startup accelerator, NAR REach, earlier this year.

Also in an effort to promote agent safety, NAR recently passed stricter core standards for Realtor associations requiring that they annually certify that they “have conducted or promoted a Realtor safety activity for members,” Wiskerchen said.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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