Meet Peggy, a homeowner who was looking for someone to come and remodel her bathroom. Looking for a quick and easy solution, she turned to Thumbtack, an online service that matches customers with local professionals, to find a contractor in her area who could help her with the job.

Thumbtack matched her to the local booking agency “Rent-A-Hubby.” After a brief conversation with the owner of the company to determine her project’s needs, a contractor arrived at her door. He got right to work, racking up a bill of $7,000.

The results were mediocre at best.


Photos taken after the $7,000 remodel of Peggy’s bathroom was completed

Peggy called Rent-A-Hubby’s owner back to discuss her bad experience and, shortly after, another contractor arrived at her door. This time, it was a tile specialist who took one look at the condition of the bathroom and told her there was no way to salvage it and that everything would have to be replaced.

Feeling mislead, Peggy contacted Rent-A-Hubby’s owner again, this time with no response. Despite additional outreach attempts from Thumbtack, and even local news stations, no one from Rent-A-Hubby ever picked up the phone.

You decide: was Rent-A-Hubby owned and operated by the man Peggy spoke to on the phone?

How can you be so sure?

Unsuccessful in reaching Rent-A-Hubby, Thumbtack removed them from their platform entirely.

Let’s rewind. After a bad experience with Rent-A-Hubby, Peggy called the company back. She tried to work things out, giving the benefit of the doubt by accepting a second visit from another contractor in an effort to fix the problem. She never requested a refund, despite the crappy job the first contractor did.

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

But before all of this, Peggy trusted that Thumbtack would lead her to a safe and reliable contractor to get the job done. Instead, she spoke to someone whose identity she had not verified, who sent a bad contractor to her house, racked up a $7,000 bill, and then vanished.

We created SafetyPIN Technologies to help make the Internet a safer place for people like Peggy, who would be best served knowing that the person they spoke to on the phone is who they actually are.

Related: What is a SafetyPIN?

So before you let anyone into your house, no matter how small the task, simply ask:

“Hey… can you send me your SafetyPIN?”

If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be dealing with them in the first place. Verifying someone’s SafetyPIN is the only way to know that who you met online is who they actually are in real life.

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