Scam, spam, fraud or theft – house cleaners beware. Scam artist targets house cleaners to take your money. Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says to look for clues to identify a scam.
A scam can come from another business. It could be an email scam, telephone scam, or a promise to promote your business.
Today we #AskaHouseCleaner how the best and the brightest can avoid a scammer.
Check the business listing or business citation, check for broken English, and SSL certificates. Never give out your private information and lock your phone in the do not call registry.
Listen: Scam Artist Targets House Cleaners
Watch: Scam Artist Targets House Cleaners
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: Scam Artist Targets House Cleaners
I belong to a private Facebook group called the professional house cleaners group. There are a bunch of professional business owners that come inside that group and ask for advice. They say, “Hey, I got a strange text message. What do you think? Is this a scam?”
Answer: Scam Artist Targets House Cleaners
Well, the truth of the matter is it might scam and it might be valid. I’ve actually got a lot of business over the years of things that looked like a scam but in fact, it was valid.
Give Everyone a Fair Chance
What if this is just someone trying to promote their business and they got a clunky business model? This is how they reach out, with blind mass emails or an email that looks like it’s a spam. Protect yourself from a scam, but give them a chance. We will discuss this further below.
So How Do You Know?
Okay, so we got a spam-looking text the other day that circulated around our group. It said, “Hey, I’m looking for a house cleaner in this area.” It gave a lot of information and at the end, “Please contact me with your contact information.”
Okay, so I didn’t know if it was a scam or not but everybody started blocking this person. The area code traced back to Colorado. Well, we don’t want to just start blocking everyone from Colorado. Because that would not be fair to all the people that are legitimate business owners there.
When I did a search on Google for that phone number, it popped up a number that leads back to a Mbuzzy account for a 29-year old female. She was looking for a personal relationship. Her name was not Peter and she was not representing house cleaning. So it did not match up.
So then that throws up red flags that, yes, this might be a scam. The next thing that you can do is Google the email address or the text message that it’s coming from.
If you are receiving this via telephone, you can go to the do not call list. This is a registry in which you can sign up for. I’ll put links to it in the blog notes where you can list your phone number. This says do not call me, I am a business but do not call me.
Public Records Attract Scam Artists
Every time you list your business on a business listing, your record becomes public. If you sign up with a register of deeds for a business name, your record becomes public. When you buy business insurance, your record becomes public. If you do anything in your business name, your record becomes public. This opens up a whole flood of people who are able and available to scam you.
So you just have to be aware that, you are now living in public. You have a public business. This is how you drive business to your website or social media. Because of this, people will call you and they will spam you and they will try to scam you.
Never Give Out Private Information
I don’t mean your name because your name is public, right? Your name is a public record. It’s on your driver’s license, your passport, your birth certificate, and on a register of people that are alive. It is public information, that’s not private.
I’m talking about your social security, your bank account information, that kind of thing. This is private information.
Check Website Security
Never give out your bank account info, unless you are buying a service from a particular company. If you are, check their website, especially if you’re buying online. Is the site secure? Is there a little lock at the top that says this is a secure website? Because if it’s not, you could be giving your money to anyone. If you get an email from somebody, check to make sure it doesn’t lead back to that account.
Scam Artist Tricks
Like the other day, I got an email that came from PayPal. It looked like a scam but I do have a PayPal account so I contacted PayPal to make sure. They have a spam section where you add in the text that they sent to verify that in fact, it was a scam.
So, yay, I got to keep my own money. I didn’t get scammed. But if you get those gut feelings, like, “Hey, someone’s trying to scam me,” it’s most likely a scam. But you never know.
Scam Artists Use Your Email
Now, there is a trick that scam artists use, they use your email. So you’re like, “Well, that’s not a bogus email. That’s my email. How did they get my email? How did I send myself this scam message?”
Are They Using Misspelled Words or Poor Grammar?
So is there misspelled words or poor grammar in the thing that they sent you? If it’s broken English or if it’s not sounding like the person that you think it’s coming from, it might be a scam.
Are They Claiming to Represent a Company Without a Company.com Email Address?
If I claim to represent PayPal but the email or the phone number I’m contacting you from is not from PayPal.com. If it’s not from PayPal.com, it’s most likely bogus. I get these all the time from Amazon. People like, “Hey, you get reward points. Just add in your private information here and claim your prize!” It comes from ABC123.gmail or something. Yeah right. Okay.
Are They Unfamiliar?
Have you ever heard of this company or person sending the email? If you’re unfamiliar, that does not mean they don’t exist. You can still do a Google search. If it pops up, it’s either going to pop up as a scam artist or it’s going to pop up as a legitimate business. If you type their name or company in a Google search and nothing comes up, do not do business with these people. Every legitimate business is going to have a listing on Google. You will be able to find them on Google. That is the era we live in now.
Are They Asking for Private or Sensitive Information?
If they are, that is a red flag, beware! Never give this information out!
Are They Asking for Money?
If they’re asking for money and you don’t have a history with this person or company, beware! If you can’t confirm that they’re a legitimate company, beware! Do not give them your credit card information! I promise it’s a scam.
Are They from a Foreign Country?
All right, this used to be a big red flag. It’s not so much anymore because now we are global. People are doing business all over the world today thanks to the internet. So if they are a foreign country, it’s not such a big deal as it once was but pay attention.
Did They Reference Your Handle? If Not, Beware!
If it came from a company like eBay and you have an eBay account, did they reference your handle? Because like on eBay, I have a handle that I use every time I log in. All my customers and people that I buy from know me by that handle. Did they use or reference your handle? Because if they didn’t, it’s most likely a scam.
Did It Come from Your Own Email Address?
Did it come from your own email address? If it did, do not block it because if you do, you block your own email address. So we have to figure out another way around that. There are hackers that did it this way because they are savvy.
Other Email Scams
So if it comes from an email, you can put that email address in the Google search bar. And if by chance it’s linked back to a valid email account, it will pull up information on that person. It will also pull up other pages that have an association with that account.
If it’s not valid, it will say this is not a known email address and so beware!
Is It a Friend That’s in Trouble?
I bet you have received one of these. One of your best friends contacts you that you have not heard from in a long time. They say something like, “Hey, I went to Brazil and my wallet got stolen and I need $2,000 to get home. Can you wire me the money?”
All right. Let me ask you a question. Does has this friend ever asked you for money? Is this a common behavior? If this person has never asked you for money, it’s most likely a scam. Now, does this person travel often? Do they have a history of taking exotic vacations to different countries? If they don’t, it’s most likely a scam.
Somebody has hacked your friend’s email account and is posing as that person. Since you have their contact information, get in touch with them. Give them a call and say, “Josh, are you in Brazil? Did you get your wallet stolen? Do you need the money?” Because Josh is most likely going to go, “What? Huh? No. I’m in Texas right now.”
This happens all the time. A quick phone call to that person will confirm whether it’s a scam. If it’s your friend, please help your friend out. But if this is a scam, don’t bother.
Use Your Red Flag Intuition
Do you get that Spidey sense, that little tingling that this might be a scam? Because if you do, it’s most likely is.
We now live in an era where people are scamming us via text, email, telephone and social media. I don’t know why but there are scam artists out there.
House Cleaners and Scam Artists
The last thing you need as a house cleaner trying to grow a business is someone emptying your bank account. Especially if you were trying to do right by helping them out or you were trying to respond or you’re trying to get a job.
So use your intuition and watch for those red flags. If the red flags are waving, turn and walk away.
All right. That’s my two cents for today and until we meet again. Leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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Resources For This Episode
Scam! Shams, Stings, and Shady Business Practices, and How You Can Avoid Them – http://amzn.to/2x3h4dD
Internet Business Insights: Lessons Learned and Strategies Used by 101 Successful Internet-Based Entrepreneurs – http://amzn.to/2grtxFe
Stop Junk Mail, Scam Calls and Fight Identity Theft in 5 Minutes (or Less) – http://amzn.to/2yRRPjc
Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner – House Cleaner Training & Certification