Facebook Scamming Gone Bad – and How to Avoid It

May 28, 2019 | Safety Smart, Safety Tips, Tips and Tricks

We all do it. We ask for a recommendation from our friends (sometimes on Facebook) for places to go, things to do, places to eat, etc. When we have a need, we ask people for a referral. If you haven’t done this yet, you’ve seen it frequently amongst your friends on Facebook, haven’t you?

Let’s talk about this for a minute. We trust our friends (usually) when they give us references. But do you think they really always know the people they are sending your way?

You know what we mean. Consider this: You have a water leak and ask, “Who knows a good plumber in the area?” Your friends give you names of people and you start calling them. They may be the friend of a friend who does plumbing, or someone they’ve heard of before. They might have even hired the person they are referring to you (which still doesn’t mean they know them).  No matter the case, your friends are well meaning, so they tell you about the person, in an effort to help you out.

If you don’t get a recommendation from your friend, maybe you do a search on Facebook or somewhere else online for whatever it is you’re looking for.

What’s next? You spend time calling, emailing, or private messaging the people you were referred to. You talk to them about your problem and schedule a service call.

The question is, how do you know this person is safe enough to bring into your home?

Demitrice Allen needed a plumber to fix her water pipes. She found a plumber on Facebook, started communicating with him, and had him come to her house to fix the issue. After giving her a list of supplies, complete with a contract that guaranteed his work for 3 years, Demetrice paid the man almost $1,000. The man showed up with some supplies, pretended to do the work, and then suddenly disappeared, never to return.

He messed up her plumbing, flooring and took her money. Later, a reporter discovered the man is in jail for a residential burglary at someone else’s home and has had multiple complaints regarding handy work projects he had taken on for other people too. You can read the full story here. 

How can you prevent something like this from happening to you?

Here are 3 things you can do, to help avoid having this problem:

1 – Check Their Reviews and Testimonials

The problem with finding reviews online is, a lot of untrustworthy businesses will write up fake reviews and post them online. You can’t fully rely on that.

But what if they have reviews on their Facebook Page? Good question. While you might think those are more reliable, they could be fake too! People create fake profiles on Facebook all the time. It would be easy for anyone to create just enough fake profiles to get some solid looking reviews.

The best way to get reviews is to talk to friends or real people you know in your area who can provide a testimonial of the work that person has done. This will give them the credibility you need to help you feel at ease about hiring someone you don’t know. This brings us to our next point.

2 – Reference the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Let’s face it, the BBB doesn’t catch everything, sometimes people complain to them just to complain, and not everyone has anything to do with the Better Business Bureau. It’s not 100% reliable, but it is a good place to start. If someone has gone through the process of being accredited by the BBB, it doesn’t completely mean they’re safe, but it does increase the likelihood you can trust them to provide quality service (and we bet they would be willing to get a SafteyPIN, if they don’t already have one).

3 – Ask for a SafetyPIN.

A SafetyPIN will put your mind at ease, as only trustworthy individuals will have one. These are the people we would let watch our kids or pets, do work in our home, etc.

For each person who applies for a SafetyPIN, our team not only completes a comprehensive criminal background check, but also a behavioral review. This review was developed by an expert team of criminal profilers and a forensic psychologist, and helps us identify “red flag” behavior in a person who may not have any criminal history. If they don’t have a criminal record, but are likely not trustworthy, based on their behavioral review, they don’t receive a SafetyPIN.

If someone has a SafetyPIN, you’ll know they cared enough to go through an extensive screening and can be trusted in your home or around your family for whatever service you need.

You can have someone apply for a SafetyPIN (or even apply for yourself) for only $1 here.

Check out the video below to learn more:

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