3 Shocking Reasons You Can’t Count On A Background Check

February 4, 2019

Shocked by flaw in background check

It’s one of the first things people think of when they want to feel safe: “I should run a background check.”

So more and more sites are making them part of their promise to keep you safer… whether you’re hiring a babysitter, finding someone to walk your dog while you’re at work, looking for a handyman, or even renting a house.

But there’s a lot more to background checks than you may know…. and that peace of mind? Well, the next time you see a user online who boasts that they’ve passed a background check, keep digging.

We learned why from an unusual source from the most powerful city in the world…

Did you know that each day in Washington, D.C., dozens of people arrive at the White House asking to see the president? They just “pop in.” In that moment, the Secret Service has about 3 seconds to decide whether or not that person is a threat. (Usually, they’re just a bit delusional.)

SafetyPIN founder Jenny Thompson discovered that when she was talking with the former White House Chief of Security and SafetyPIN Security Expert John Gill. At the time, Jenny was beginning to develop what has become the new standard in personal safety, SafetyPIN’s Trust Badge. It was just after a dangerous close encounter with a dog sitter she hired on Craigslist.

But that’s not all she discovered. As she began to build SafetyPIN, Jenny found three huge flaws in traditional background checks that may shock you.

Any one of these facts alone is enough to “trick” you into bringing someone dangerous into your home and around your family, even if they passed a criminal background check.

So when you’re using an app that promises that their users are background checked – whether or not it is mandatory – take caution. Because it doesn’t mean what we think it does.

Here are 3 shocking secrets about background checks:

1) There is no such thing as a national background check

Many people think that “national” background checks scan any offense committed anywhere in the U.S. But actually, only 16 states report 100% of criminal activity up to databases (keep reading for more on the lack of publicly available data). Even more shocking is the fact that 22 states do NOT automatically report any criminal data to those same databases. And in the rest of the states, some counties report, and some don’t.

2) Standard background checks stop checking at the county line

Other than the national sex offender registry, the state sex offender registries, and federal charges (like drug trafficking and identity theft) , almost all criminal activity is recorded at the county level. So when a background check promises to go to the county level, that means you probably won’t get any history for the county next door. For some perspective, this means that if someone lives in New York City, and you run a standard background check on them, you wouldn’t know if they had one of the following non-federal charges 1 mile away in Brooklyn, because it’s a different county:

Driving intoxicated
Battery or Assault
Robbery
Stalking
Kidnapping
… and more!

3) Approximately 40% of Crimes in the U.S. Go Unreported

That means, for every 100 crimes committed in the United States, 40 are never even reported to police. And since background checks can only tell you what people have been arrested and tried for, a large number of crimes are completely unavailable. That is a huge limitation. I mean, how can background checks protect you if they can’t piece together the full story of someone’s past? They can’t.

But there is a solution…

SafetyPIN was created to overcome these three flaws. Our screening process goes further and deeper into an applicant’s history and behavior than any background check. Like we said above, most background checks stop at the county line, but we know most criminals don’t. That’s why we’ve worked with a federal investigator to audit all 3,200 counties in the U.S. and tell us where we could get digitally-available data and where we couldn’t. Then we work with independent vendors to drill down on the information we need, never stopping until we have the best combination of data to fill gaps in someone’s record – even if it means sending someone to a small town courthouse to get a photocopy of someone’ record.

But since 40% of crimes are never reported anywhere, we didn’t stop there. Our team has worked with an expert team of criminal profilers that includes a forensic psychologist to develop the specialized questions and scoring in our behavioral review. The results of our behavioral review allow us to identify red flags, even if the person has no criminal history.

If someone has displayed their SafetyPIN on their profile, they’re letting you know they care about your safety and they can be trusted in real life. Whether it’s a babysitter, handyman, dog walker, or house cleaner, always make sure to ask for their SafetyPIN before you let anyone in your home or around your family…or meet them anywhere offline.

You don’t have to rely on flawed sources of data or hoping for the best. Start creating connections based on trust with a SafetyPIN. You can apply for one (or ask someone else to) for just $1 here.

Be sure to check out our video with more information below:

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Upload Your SafetyPIN To Instantly Boost Your Profile

January 21, 2019

Add your SafetyPIN Trust Badge to your profile

After you receive your SafetyPIN, you can immediately download and share your Trust Badge on any online profile to show people that they can choose you because they can trust you IRL.

Ready to upgrade your online profile by displaying your SafetyPIN? Here’s how:

1. Log into your account at app.getasafetypin.com

2. Under your profile picture on the left side of the dashboard, click “View/Share Badge”

3. Select download to prompt a direct download of your SafetyPIN Trust Badge.

You can either include your downloaded image of your SafetyPIN Trust Badge on the online profile of your choice, or you can post your downloaded badge or just share your number in your post or profile.

Here are just a few ways people are using their SafetyPINs to get ahead of their competition on a basis of trust:

“I added my SafetyPIN to my NextDoor profile so people would know they could trust me. Sure, we’re all “neighbors,” but—let’s be honest – that doesn’t mean what it once did.”- Natalie S

“I include my SafetyPIN on my email signature. It lets prospective clients know I’ve been verified.” – Tom

“I have my SafetyPIN up on all my Airbnb listings to give renters some peace of mind when traveling to a new place.” -Lisa J

Trust. Verified. That’s it!

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Ask For This Before You Book Your Next Airbnb… It Could Save Your Life

January 15, 2019

Coded Airbnb Door Lock We got this email the other day… Begin forwarded message: From: Anna **** <*******@***mail.com> Subject: Wish I Had Know About SafetyPIN When… Date: January 10, 2019 at 11:55:10 AM EST To: SafetyPIN Technologies <info@safetypintech.com> Hey SafetyPIN! My name is Anna, and I’m a regular on Airbnb. I like to use it when I travel because it gives us more room to spread out, more privacy… and it can be a lot cheaper than a hotel. So why should you care about that? Because something spooked me during my last trip. And even though I’m okay now, I realized that my life could have been at risk, and I want to share it with you because after this, I’ll never book my Airbnb without asking for a SafetyPIN from the host ever again… and others need to hear this. My friend and I decided to pack up our bags and head to a quiet beach town in the Carolinas for a New Years getaway. We were both tired of the drunken midnight party scene and decided to trade it in for cozy sweatshirts on the beach. When we arrived at the house, we discovered the code to open the front door wasn’t working. It seemed like the lock was out of battery. So I picked up my phone to call our Airbnb host. But I quickly realized that there was no cell signal. We’d have to drive into town if I wanted to contact the host. And then, if by a total coincidence, a guy pulls up in a truck. He steps out and starts walking to the front door where we were standing. “Hey, I’m John – this is my house. Is the front lock misbehaving?” He just… showed up. John was definitely our host, he matched his profile picture… so I just let him put new batteries in the lock and let us in. And show us around. How to use the stove. Where the extra blanket was in the bedroom. Then he made this comment about how comfortable the mattress was… It was awkward, to say the least. Then he left. It was all very weird, it’s like he knew that the batteries in the lock were going to die. I just had this weird feeling about the whole situation, it didn’t feel right. And then it hit me – I had no idea who this guy really was. I somehow thought that, just because his face matched his profile picture and the house had good reviews from past guests, we were all set. But I thought, what if we weren’t all set? What if I had been there alone? What if he had something else in mind? I had no way to know… and he had the code to the front door. Related: How Ratings And Reviews No Longer Cut It In The New Internet Economy  I hardly slept through the first night – lying awake, staring at the door like he could punch in the code at any second. We were two young girls, staying alone in an unfamiliar town. I obsessed about how his actions clearly seemed thought out. How did he know we were had pulled up when we did? How did he know about the lock? It just didn’t feel right. So the next day, I started Googling ways to stay safe online, and I found SafetyPIN’s Trust Badge. Amazing! It was JUST what I was hoping for – a quick and easy way to find out if I could trust this guy. I love the fact that you guys check someone’s history AND do a behavioral screening. It’s so hard to know who to trust these days, so knowing that the screening process is so thorough is super refreshing. And I also realized something huge. It gave me the power to say, “thank you, next” to anyone who refused to apply or was didn’t have one. Related: The 5 Easiest Things To Remember If You Feel Awkward Asking For Someone’s SafetyPIN Everything worked out okay on our trip, but I didn’t sleep too well during that whole time. I just wish I had known about SafetyPIN beforehand and had asked him to apply for one. So I would know I could trust him before we even arrived at the house… before he showed up in person, and before we were inside the house with him. I just applied and wanted to know how I can use mine on Airbnb. Do you guys work with them at all? Anna ________________________ From: SafetyPIN Technologies <info@safetypintech.com> Subject: Re:Wish I Had Know About SafetyPIN When… Date: January 10, 2019 at 12:31:23 PM EST To: Anna **** <*******@***mail.com> Dear Anna, Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can’t imagine how unnerving that experience must’ve been. It’s exactly for situations like that that we developed SafetyPIN. We aren’t currently working with Airbnb but that doesn’t mean you can’t post your Trust Badge or ask your host to apply. You can easily upload your own Trust Badge to any online profile you’d like, and use it as a way to show others that you can be trusted as well while asking for their SafetyPIN in return. We will keep you posted when we are working with them. Until then…stay safe! Emily Thomas
Director of Customer Care
SafetyPIN Technologies, Inc.
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A Virtual Trust Badge is The #1 Thing Your Profile Needs in 2019

December 20, 2018

The Internet economy is booming. Who wouldn’t want to be able to control their own schedule and become their own boss? Maybe it’s offering your services as a freelance handyman, or making extra cash by renting out your apartment when you aren’t home. But why are the vast majority of talented, hardworking people not making the kind of money that they want?

It’s simple…

It’s because people are realizing that they actually know very little about the kinds of people they meet online. Whether they’re looking for a babysitter, dog walker, a handyman, or even an online date – when you meet someone online, prepare for them to be suspicious of who you really are, and what your intentions might be.

And the truth is, the internet is a great place for criminals to hide behind a screen, and they’re getting really good at tricking the system and preying on innocent victims… like a babysitter who steals from families’ home while they’re alone with the children, or a dog walker who takes the cash and never shows up. These criminals are creating a real problem for good people who are looking to make an honest living – and it’s getting a lot harder to tell who to pick just by looking at someone’s profile.

That’s why you need the virtual trust badge, a SafetyPIN, on your profile. It’s the single best way to boost your profile and book more jobs in 2019. Plus, you’ll start on a basis of trust, which survey after survey has shown to be the #1 thing people look for before hiring. Here’s what it looks like:

Trust is one of those things that, until now, could only be built over time…. carefully and slowly. But now, SafetyPIN has created the only fast track to trust. It’s a state of the art 4-pronged algorithm, and it’s as simple as completing a simple application and completing a quick behavioral quiz that takes about 5 minutes total. Once approved, you’ll receive a unique virtual trust badge that you can display on any profile you choose – giving others instant peace of mind that they can choose you because they can trust you.

WATCH: A SafetyPIN Virtual Trust Badge Explained in 97 Seconds

We keep all your private information private…and all your data is encrypted and secure. We guarantee it.

Check out what people are saying about SafetyPIN – The Virtual Trust Badge – over on Facebook:

For a limited time only, your application fee is just $1 – and you pay just $1 a month for your first 6 months. Most applications are approved in just 24 hours. There has never been a better time to grab yours… to win trust instantly and book more jobs.

Click Here To Apply Now For Just $1 (limited time offer)

Related: The Secret To Booking More Jobs on Any App:

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Outrageous! Baylor U Rapist Gets Off Without a Criminal Record

December 13, 2018

Jacob Anderson is a rapist. He basically admitted it in court when he pleaded “no contest.” He raped a woman at a frat party multiple times during his time as a fraternity president at Baylor University in Texas. Noticing she was feeling a bit woozy, he took her outside behind the frat house and raped her repeatedly, then left her face down in the dirt. What a guy…

Still, you wouldn’t know it a couple years from now…

Why? Because you probably won’t ever see this on his background check. Even if he applied to be your daughter’s nanny, he’d likely pass a background check with flying colors.

It’s a dirty little secret of the background check industry…it all starts with the judge and it gets worse.

Despite the victim’s angry objections, Anderson was offered a plea deal, which threw out four charges of rape and reduced his charge to Unlawful Restraint. This means after a few years of probation, a ridiculous $400 fine, some counseling, and “good behavior,” the charge could be erased entirely. Even worse, the judge made the shocking decision that he didn’t have to register as a sex offender.

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

This young woman’s life is now ruined, and his next victim won’t have any way of knowing how dangerous Anderson is.

And this is the first challenge with background checks…they can only report what’s in file. So you have terrible situations like this where a rapist gets off with a slap on the wrist – and maybe no record at all.

Next you have huge swings in how different counties and states report criminal records – if they even do at all.

Not to mention that 40% of all crimes and 70% of all sex crimes go unreported. (Gee…I wonder why people don’t bother to report…)

That all leads to a false sense of security when you run a background check and it comes back clean, so you’re more likely to think “this guy must be ok.”

Wrong!

And that’s why SafetyPIN built a better background check – and didn’t stop there. Its 4-pronged state-of-the-art algorithm screens for everything you expect, but then goes broader and further back to find things a standard background check can miss.

But since so many crimes go unreported, that still isn’t enough. So SafetyPIN incorporated a proprietary behavioral review to weed out people like Anderson who are predators that could be a danger.

When someone has their own unique SafetyPIN, you know they’ve met all the criteria designed by their law enforcement and psychological experts.

Plus, SafetyPIN re-screens members regularly, so you can rest assured that if anyone commits a crime, their SafetyPIN will be revoked automatically.

There are more Jacob Andersons in the world than we realized. Those well-educated and handsome guys who seem so “normal.” Maybe one will reply to your ad to fix your sink, walk your dog, or maybe he’s someone you’d like to “swipe right” on.

Sadly, the victim in this case had no chance to “screen” Anderson. But make sure you don’t end up the next victim of this Jacob Anderson, or any of them. Ask for a SafetyPIN before you let anyone around your home or family – or go on a date. There’s no better way to know the person you’re meeting is someone safe to be around – and isn’t someone who’s “affluenza” led to a slap on the wrist instead of the slam of a jail cell.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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NY Police: LetGo User Robbed and Beaten in Online Selling Nightmare

December 10, 2018

It seemed like it would be so easy… just snapping a couple of pictures of an old pair of shoes and listing it on LetGo… but that’s not what happened at all.

It’s supposed to be safer than Craigslist, but it turns out LetGo and other buying/selling apps are another place for criminals to hide behind an online profile. LetGo boasts over 100 million downloads and hundreds of millions of listings. It’s the fastest growing app to buy and sell items locally. It’s simple and easy to use, but, sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s safe…

Of course, this isn’t a story just about LetGo. It’s a warning about how buying or selling online or through any app can go terribly wrong.

And it can happen anywhere, to anyone who buys or sells online.

The kicks in question were a pair of Yeezy sneakers by Adidas, retailing at several hundred dollars. The seller arranged to meet the buyer at his apartment in Brooklyn. Just as the two men were exchanging cash for shoes, two more men showed up… and one had a hammer.

A fight broke out. The seller ended up beaten to the ground with a hammer and the men stole not only the shoes… but $125 from inside the apartment. It was supposed to be a simple 5-minute transaction, but it turned dangerous and bloody. The seller is lucky to be alive!

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

Now the police are desperately searching for the three men who set this innocent 25-year-old shoe seller up, robbed, and beat him. But it’s likely that the suspects will just go back to LetGo and other sites with a new profile to trick other unsuspecting victims into another dangerous situation. And all for $125.

LetGo exists to give us an easy way to make money getting rid of things we don’t want or need anymore. They didn’t plan to be in the safety business. But things like this happen every day – on every online marketplace. LetGo suggests looking at users ratings and reviews to allow you to determine if you want to meet them offline… but obviously, that just doesn’t cut it. And we know how easy it is for a scammer or criminal to create a fake profile and game the reviews.

Related: How Ratings and Reviews No Longer Cut It In The Internet Economy

We’ve all got a lot of stuff, and after a while, that stuff starts feeling old. Selling your stuff online is a great way to make extra cash from the things lying around your home…like that sweater in your closet that probably still has the tags on. You know you won’t wear it, so why not sell it?

The thing is… the simplicity and ease of selling on an app can be deceiving, and unfortunately, something like the sneaker sale turned nightmare can happen to anyone these days. Where the experience of selling something on LetGo is probably 99% seamless, there will always be people who try to scam others online. For many of these people, it’s like their full-time job, they’re professional criminals, and they’re getting really good at it.

But there is a way to protect yourself from bad people online. It’s the virtual trust badge, SafetyPIN. It was developed with NYPD criminal profilers, the former head of White House Security, and leading psychologists. The outcome was SafetyPIN, a simple tool to help you make sure someone is safe before you meet them in real life.

It’s only $1 to apply for a SafetyPIN – it’s the best way to give – and get – instant peace of mind. Make sure you ask for a SafetyPIN the next time you sell or buy anything online. For $1… Why would you ever take the chance of a simple transaction gone wrong again?

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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Could “Dirty John” Happen To You?! How to Avoid the Dangers of Online Dating

December 7, 2018

Maybe you listened to the podcast or watch the Bravo series: Dirty John. It’s based on the all-too-real true story of a successful businesswoman who joined a dating site and met the man of her dreams. Or so she thought.

Debra Newell was 59 when she met Dr. John Meehan through a website for singles over 50. She was a rich interior designer who had been unlucky with love. Then she found John, a handsome, charming doctor.

He did all those perfect boyfriend things – like roses, presents, expensive jewelry…By date number 3, John told Debra that he was “madly in love” with her. He said he wanted to marry her. Within two months they actually tied the knot. Her daughters were suspicious, but she was so blinded by love, she couldn’t see the signs. It turns out, her daughters’ instincts were spot on.

John had a nickname… “Dirty John”, and he earned it from his past of deceiving, blackmailing and lying to women. He had such a reputation as a predator that women posted about him on a site called datingpsychos.com, saying “he is very persuasive. Emotionally needy… slick liar.”

Debra had no idea what was coming for her. We won’t spoil the ending… but it’s insane!

Unfortunately, this true crime story is not fiction. And, as crazy as it was, it’s also not an isolated case. Predators like John exist on every online dating website. And like John, they’re very good at explaining away all the lies. John even showed up late to dates in scrubs to convince women he was a doctor.

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

Christopher Goffard, who created the podcast that inspired the TV series, describes Dirty John as a “cautionary tale about the ways that a sociopath, like a predator, can find the victim and tell these victims exactly what they want to hear.” It’s a warning for anyone using dating sites to find love.

Here are 4 top tips from experts on how to stay safe while looking for love online:

1. Don’t give all of your information away

“Don’t give all of the details of your life away to someone you barely just met. People who have a mind to control someone else are looking for avenues by which they can make that control happen” says Janice Miller from the House of Ruth Maryland. This means: don’t give away any financial or private personal details right off the bat. And try not to overshare. John would ask women to send him intimate photos of themselves, only to turn around and blackmail them later on.

2. Put a limit on the alcohol

Call us old-fashioned, sure, but consider making the first date an alcohol-free experience. And if you must meet at a bar, Det. Trent Thurber from the LA Sheriff’s department suggests setting a limit on the amount of alcohol you consume. He also added “Don’t let someone bring a drink to you unless you see it come straight from the bar or waitstaff” in an interview with the LA Times. Rape by intoxication is a real thing. Since 2015, there have been 85 reported incidents in LA… and we know the majority of sexual abuse cases are not reported to the police.

3. Set boundaries

“One thing a person can do if they’re feeling unsure is set a limit and see whether or not the person will respect that limit. If you say, ‘Look, I have a lot going on in my life right now, could we just agree to only communicate in the evenings,’ and then see if the person tries to contact you during the day time” said Miller. This will tell you a lot about the other person and whether they can respect your boundaries… especially before things get intimate. Remember, abusers will push those boundaries to the extreme, so get a gauge early on.

4. It’s ok to do a little nosing around.

Never feel bad about checking social media, blogs like datingpsychos.com, or other sources that could give warning signs about the person you’re considering. Even celebrity chef Devin Alexander told the Los Angeles Times that she googles every date. “You’d be surprised what I’ve found. Everything from people’s addresses to engagement announcements, to someone selling an engagement ring on Craigslist,” Alexander said. “This stuff can lead to learning who the person really is.”

But online sleuthing isn’t always enough. The best, easiest way to really know if you can trust the other person is by asking for their SafetyPIN before meeting them in real life. A SafetyPIN provides a fast track to trust, and one of the best ways to use it is for online dating. That’s because SafetyPIN’s algorithm looks into criminal and financial history, but more than that…it uses a behavioral profile to identify the type of behavior men like John work to hide.

But the Dirty Johns out there can’t outsmart our forensic psychologist or criminal profilers. So if someone doesn’t have a SafetyPIN or won’t apply, swipe left and say “thank you, next.”

It only costs $1 to apply, and applications are usually processed within 24 hours, so it’s a simple and easy way to know if someone has red flags, without asking those awkward questions. All you have to do is ask for the other person’s SafetyPIN, and once you verify it, you’ll have instant peace of mind and can enjoy your date.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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Poor Lulu! You Won’t Believe What Happened To Her and Her Brother

December 6, 2018

Lulu the SafetyPIN dogs

After a close call with a dog sitter put Jenny Thompson’s two dogs in danger, she decided to dig a lot deeper into someone’s history before letting them into her home.

“Honestly, I was way luckier than some. I wasn’t hurt — and Django and Lulu were fine. But it got crazy,” said Jenny, who hired Sarah from an ad on Craigslist to watch her dogs. They met in person, and Django – the border collie mix, and Lulu, a miniature Australian Shepard, seemed to like her a lot. Like many dogs, Django gets nervous in boarding facilities, so Jenny opts to have her sitters “move in” to her home in Baltimore while she travels.

But when Jenny returned home from her trip nine days later, she immediately knew that something wasn’t right. As soon as she opened the door, she noticed the smell – and the stains. The dogs must’ve been left alone for a long time or they would never go in the house. Then she noticed that their dog beds weren’t anywhere to be found. And finally, she discovered a set of perfectly clean, folded bedsheets had been tossed in the washer… unused.

Piecing it all together, Jenny realized that Sarah must’ve left the dogs alone for a long time, realized that would be a problem, and took them somewhere else, without her permission.

Sarah had lied to Jenny – she potentially put her dogs in harm’s way – and didn’t even sleep there once!

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

She had paid Sarah in advance for the next week, so Jenny told Sarah she could never watch the dogs again and asked for the $150 back. Here’s where it gets really crazy…

Days later, Jenny received this text from a number claiming to be Sarah’s dad. He describes a horrible accident on the Washington beltway, details of the hospital Sarah was taken to, and asked for prayers. The next day, another text that her lung had collapsed… then that she had been put into a medically induced coma… and finally, that she had DIED.

Could this possibly be true?

Jenny didn’t want to think the worst, but too many things had happened for her “spidey senses” not to be tinging.

She checked Google and Facebook, and saw nothing about the accident or any concerned messages from friends.

She couldn’t imagine someone would go to these lengths over $150, but she couldn’t deny the evidence.

Not only were there no messages from friend, but after she “died,” Sarah had actually updated her Facebook profile.

So here’s a girl that looped friends into a scheme and faked her own death…to save $150!

It was from that moment on that Jenny decided she was going to be much more careful about people she let into her home and around her dogs. But when she started to look into it, she discovered that digging deeper was easier said than done.

Background checks were a good start, but she found that they were limited: data often came up incomplete, never updated, or never checked again.

Then she learned that more than 40% of crimes are never even reported. And only 16 states even have 100% electronic reporting available. It was so hard to know who to trust.

And, obviously, this isn’t just the case for dog sitters. It’s also for babysitters, elder care, handymen, housekeepers, or anyone else that you’re looking to hire in your home.

So Jenny spent the next year developing a trust badge called SafetyPIN. It’s the easiest way to tell who you can trust in the online economy, and can be displayed on any profile. She worked with retired NYPD criminal profilers, the former head of White House security, and leading psychologists to develop a simple tool that lets you know if someone is safe before you meet them in real life.

Jenny was lucky. She was fine and her dogs were home and safe. But we hear horror stories every day about babysitters, dangerous dates, criminals scamming people on shopping apps…and the list goes on. SafetyPIN is the best way to get – and give – peace of mind.

It costs only $1 to apply for a SafetyPIN. It’s the best way to know who to trust, before it’s too late.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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Guns Drawn: Airbnb Guest Shocked by Early Morning Raid

December 4, 2018

When Matt’s travels brought him to Hollywood for two nights, he chose an Airbnb because it gave him more space to stretch out … and it was cheaper than the hotels. But his stay turned out to be a wild ride from hell, and much more than he bargained for…

The house was listed on Airbnb by a host named Karissa. After he landed, Matt messaged Karissa inside the Airbnb mobile app messenger. Here’s a screenshot of their (very brief) chat:

That’s just the start of when things got weird. Matt was a little suspicious because the host asked him to text instead of using the app. He’s never had someone do that before but thought it was no big deal. Not only did Matt have to call the number provided several times – it wasn’t Karissa who finally picked up – and it wasn’t someone anywhere near Hollywood.

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

“It was a man’s voice. Another red flag. But ultimately I’d had positive experiences with Airbnb in the past, so I assumed they had done proper background checks on their hosts.”

When he arrived at the house, there was an EVICTION notice on the door (seriously!). So Matt called the host’s number again and he assured Matt that he had paid his rent and there was nothing to worry about. Matt took his word for it, went inside, and unpacked his things.

At exactly 9 am the next morning there was a loud knock on the door. Confused, suspicious, and still half asleep, Matt opens it… to a scene he’ll never forget…

Cops burst inside with their guns drawn. They made him vacate the property, and they didn’t care that he was just a renter on Airbnb staying for a couple nights. They even locked his luggage and car up inside the property! So he was just left there, completely helpless.

What a nightmare. Finally, the building’s manager arrived… hours later… and let Matt in to get his stuff.

“It was horrible. And the final slap in the face was Airbnb only refunded one of the nights. I got zero refund for the first night.”

After this crazy travel disaster, Matt decided he would either pay extra for hotels or only stay in Airbnb’s where he knows the hosts are trustworthy. From now on, he’s asking for a SafetyPIN, the only fast track to trust that lets you see if the person you’re talking to online can be trusted in real life.

For many travelers, booking a place to stay on Airbnb instead of a hotel room can have its perks. It can be cheaper, roomier, and more private. But please don’t let the host’s flashy profile distract you – make sure they are who they say they are – and can be trusted — by always asking for their SafetyPIN.

And if they don’t have one yet, just let them know: It takes only 5 minutes and costs just $1 for them to apply here. And if they give you pushback, maybe they’re hiding something and it’s time to move on.

A SafetyPIN keeps you safer as you rely on the Internet for more and more things. Always ask for a SafetyPIN, because nothing is more important than your personal safety – and nothing is harder to get back than your peace of mind.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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How Ratings and Reviews No Longer Cut It In The New Internet Economy

November 30, 2018

These days, we do everything online. We book travel homes, look for deals on new appliances, and look through applications for new people to hire – like babysitters and handymen, people who you’ll bring into your home and around your family…

 

Until now, the best way to know that you’ll be safe meeting someone you met online is to immediately check the ratings and reviews. Knowing that another person in your hometown has had a good experience can be a great relief.

 

But what if you aren’t getting the whole picture? I mean…we all know there are ways to get people to give you better reviews. And that can lead to you getting tricked into a bad (or even dangerous) situation with no warning.

 

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

Here are the top 3 reasons you can’t really rely on reviews:

 

1) They can be “gamed.”  We’ve all been there. You check out of your Airbnb or finish a task and you’re immediately asked for a 5-star review. Maybe the place wasn’t what it seemed or the tasker was a little “off” but you don’t want to cause any trouble and you don’t want them to give you a bad rating. So…you give in. Yup…5 stars. Now multiply that times tons of people and you can see how easily a 3-star experience ends up as 4.9.

 

2) They can be misleading. A lot of platforms give people the option of listing under a number of different specialties. And that means a 5-star review could be based on a totally different experience than what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for someone to care for your elderly parent, you wouldn’t want to find someone with glowing references and a 5-star review… for babysitting. This type of care requires an entirely different skill set.

 

3) They can be completely false. Recognize that criminals are experts at misrepresenting themselves to lure in their victims. They know every trick in the book, from using another person’s photos to writing their own reviews. And they can be very hard to detect.

 

The best way to make sure someone who looks good online is safe to meet up with in real life is to ask for their SafetyPIN. Because in the real world, things aren’t always as they seem online.

 

Don’t let an honest mistake become the worst decision of your life… remember the story of the NYC mom whose babysitter took her toddler on a drive across state lines to set her ex’s car on fire?

 

Related: NYC Mom: Crazy Babysitter Took My Baby to Torch Her Ex’s Car

You can protect yourself and your family from the criminals who use the internet as their stalking grounds. You have the power to stop these people from entering your world and hurting your family.

 

Whether it’s a babysitter, a handyman, or you’re renting an Airbnb or going on a date, make sure always ask for a SafetyPIN before meeting in real life. Nothing matters more than your safety.

 

This holiday season, share the gift of personal safety with the people who matter to you most, and in return you will receive peace of mind that you’ve helped protect them. Whether looking online for a babysitter, a dog walker, a handyman, or a date… tell them about SafetyPIN so they know to always ask for one before meeting anyone they found online.

 

Know anyone looking to stand out in a sea of flashy profiles and 5-star reviews? Share this link  so they can apply for their own for just $1. They’ll stand out among their competition online and will book more jobs faster.

 

But they’ll need to hurry – our $1 application fee offer won’t last long! You can even buy them an application as a gift. It’s the best $1 you could ever spend! Want to learn more? Click here.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer:

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