Scam Artist Targets House Cleaners @SavvyCleaner

A scam artist among us

@SavvyCleaner by Angela Brown

A scam artist warning hit our private closed Facebook group for house cleaners this week. We share residential cleaning tips, cleaning blogs, commercial cleaning articles and cleaning product reviews. We troubleshoot problems about cleaning clients, and offer peer-to-peer support. We also raise awareness for scam artists targeting our own.  “Beware of Peter. His info ptmchpherson101@gmail.com, #719-629-xxxx, he’s trying to scam housekeepers & maids. I am always wary when I see the area code 719, since I have received a couple of text msg. from that area with the same story. Short story they are trying to get your personal info…” Hang on, hang on. 719 is the area code for Colorado Springs, Colorado. Let’s not block all messages coming from Colorado Springs just yet.

So do we have scam artist in our midst or do we have a legitimate salesman with products we need?

I’m a small business owner and I’d like a fair chance – let’s give Peter one too.

I sent him an email.

Hey Peter,

I run a closed house cleaning group on Facebook and your name came up as a scam artist targeting housekeepers, maids and house cleaners. So I thought I’d contact you and find out your side of the story. Do you have a legitimate product you’re selling?

I’m super curious, in an era of social media marketing, it would be helpful to sort this out.

Should I be promoting you or blacklisting you?

Angela 🙂

Before we blacklist a scam artist…

Your information is public any time you grow a business. When you register a business name, a domain name, get bonding and insurance, or list your business in a directory like Yelp.com, your  email, phone, and address become public records. You WILL get phone calls, letters in the mail, and emails from solicitors trying to sell you everything under the sun. From web design to bookeeping, to personal assistants, and attorneys. This is not a bad thing – it is just other people trying to do business with you, just like we do business with them.

You have to answer your phone because you hope house cleaning clients will call you. But if you don’t like telemarketing calls… you can register your phone with the national “Do Not Call Registry”  or dial – 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list.

Do Not Call Registry Productivity Hack

Unwanted Telemarketing Calls

If you still get unwanted telemarketing calls, you can go to your “recents” phone calls and click on (i) for information, on an IOS phone, and scroll to the bottom of the screen and “block this caller.”

You can also block text messages from your iPhone and iPad as well.

You can block text and phone messages on an Android too.

The scam artist email bounces

Peter never got the email I sent. It bounced back to me because it was a bogus email. Check it out:

Scam Artist Email bounce

A bounced email with a bogus email address triggers a scam artist in my mind. But I’m not done giving what’s his/her name a fair chance.  So I Googled the phone number and traced it back to a romantic profile on mbuzzy.com. It is a 29 yr old female who wants a relationship – not a house cleaning job, or a man named Peter. Sadly this looks like a “blacklist” in my book.

As a business owner, you’ll have to master the art of weeding out the vendors from the offenders. Don’t fall victim to scams that destroy your property or profits.

Protect yourself from a telephone scam artist

As a rule of thumb – when someone calls you for the first time, they will not show up as one of your contacts. So your caller ID will show an “unknown” number.

At the end of that call, right click on the (i) for information and “create a new contact”. Type in a name or some notes about your call. This way you can keep your legitimate contacts organized. If they ever call you back again, your caller ID will show the name of the person calling.

If it is a bogus or unwanted telemarketing call – and you block it, they won’t get through when they call again from that number.

TRIGGERS: If anyone CALLS YOU and asks for any personal information, DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM. This could be a credit card number, social security number, address, birthday etc. It doesn’t matter who they say they are or what company they say they represent.

If you are the one who initiates the call – the company you are calling (bank, vendor, tech support etc.) can look up your account with a pin, your name, or a secret questions you have set up for the account. Then they will have the information they need to have a conversation with you. Still don’t give them your personal data.

Protect yourself from an email scam artist

Scam Artist advice from Angela Brown the House Cleaning Guru

Pay attention to emails you receive that have links or attachments. If you do not remember subscribing to the email, see if there is an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom. Businesses marketing through email are required to have an unsubscribe button at the bottom. You can simply hit that button and “opt out.”

If the email content interests you, but you still don’t recognize the email sender, hit REPLY ALL.  Send a quick note asking “Hey what’s this all about?” or “thanks for sharing” email. If it is legitimate – you’ll get a legitimate response. If it is fake, it will bounce within a couple of seconds and you can delete the email.

DO NOT click on links or open files in unfamiliar emails.

Scammers can fake emails, company logos and sound quite convincing.

You can also verify validity of an email sender by typing in the email address in the Google search bar. The email, if valid will link you to all sorts of webpages affiliated with the company. Every social media profile they have opened using that email will show up in the search.  This is a really interesting exercise. Try it. Type your own email address in a Google Search bar and see what comes up. See? Stuff connects.

If nothing pops up, as it did in this case with Peter Mchpherson you know it’s a scam.

  • Also note the spelling. How many Mchpherson’s do you know who spell their name that way? (Hint: none)

Scam artist email Google Search

TRIGGERS:

  • Misspelled words or poor grammar.
  • Claiming to represent a company – but don’t have the company.com at the end of their email.
  • Unfamiliar – have you ever heard of the company or person sending the email?
  • If you type their name or company name in Google does anything come up?
  • Are they asking for any sensitive information? (Email, birthday, social security number etc.)
  • Are they asking for money?
  • Is it from a foreign country?
  • If it came from a company say eBay – did it reference your “handle” or screen name? Generic hacks and scams won’t have access to that information.
  • Did it come from your own email address? (Yes, hackers can spam you with your own email address.)
  • Is it a friend that is in trouble? Been mugged or asking for money? Beware. (Shoot the friend a quick text and ask.)
  • Has this friend ever asked you for money before?
  • Are you the person this friend would contact if they were in a bind?
  • Do you have a “red flag” intuition? If you have ANY suspicion, SLOW DOWN. Any quick decisions are not likely to be wise. Stop and think about why you have a “red flag” feeling.
  • Is the email from a free account (hotmail, gmail, yahoo?) Beware.

And if you are unsure, but you know the company sending the email – contact them via the spoof address on their website and ask them to verify.

I got a suspicious email the other day from PayPal with whom I have an account. I got the “red flag” intuition. I went to PayPal and looked up the email address for spoofs and hoaxes. I was able to forward the email on to them. And they verified that it was in fact a scam.

Don’t let a scam artist drain your bank account, or crash your computer system with a virus because you didn’t know any better. Now you do.

Is there a red flag I forgot to mention? Something that triggers a scam in your mind?

FREE STUFF
How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company

RESOURCES
Block text messages from your iPhone and iPad
Block text and phone messages on an Android
National Do Not Call Registry or dial – 1-888-382-1222

PHOTO & DESIGN
Photo credits: Savvy Cleaner
Canva Photos
GraphicStock
Google Images
@AngelaOberer
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About @SavvyCleaner // Angela Brown

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru // Founder of SAVVY CLEANER // Author of the book: How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company

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