We’ve all had pesky critters in our yards at one time or another that can be irritating. Me, I’ve been living with a squirrel that acts like he pays the rent. He snacks on my garden, messes with my flowers, and – seriously – taunts my dog through my French doors just inches from his face. Of course my dog goes insane when this happens.
Frankie is just sure he’s going to catch this guy someday.
I’m glad squirrels are my only problem in the yard. Other folks have worse problems. Poisonous spiders. Termites. Maybe fleas. And if have you that problem, you call in the professionals and they spray your home down and you pay them with your credit card and the bugs go away and the pesky pest story ends happily.
Or does it?
Recently NPR reported on a family business that’s been legitimately operating for over 40 years, AAA Termite and Pest Control. Their business had its identity stolen and the imposters were stealing their business right out in the open. When you looked in the phone book, there were three companies operating with the same name in his area. In addition to stealing his customers, these thieves could have opened up credit cards and lines of credit under the owner’s name that would leave the real owners having to clean up the mess.
So why should you be concerned?
- Legitimate businesses have standards their employees must meet when they hire them. Reference checks, training, and criminal background checks can be some of the standards. When a business has had its identity stolen and you hire the imposter, you have no idea who is in your home.
- Is this person a convicted offender and an identity thief, or just an identity thief? That’s not a chance you want to take with your family. And, say this is a pest issue, what are these people actually spraying in your house? You have no idea what kind of chemicals you’re breathing if you’re dealing with an imposter.
Why It’s Happening
- They’re stealing business from the legitimate company. They want to establish larger lines of credit in the name of that company. If you pay them with a credit or debit card, they’ve got access to your debit or credit card. And because they’re in your home, they already know your address, they’ve seen the layout, and they know where your goods are.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
- Verify who you’re dealing with. Ask for the manager’s name and how to reach him/her. Get the name of the person you’re speaking to and their number and ask if you can call them back. If you’re dealing with a con artist they might hang up at this point. Get a physical address and check with your Secretary of State to see if they’re licensed and check their track record with your Attorney General’s office. These steps can go a long way to ensure that the professionals in your home are not professional criminals.
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