Many unscrupulous people out there don't enjoy work and have no ethical compass. They live on fraud, exploiting the hard work of others so that they can live lives of guilty leisure. Don't get caught up in a scam--take precautions to protect yourself from people that would take advantage of your trusting nature. A few minutes of work checking the background of a company can save you years of frustration.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Check references. Whenever conducting business with someone, signing a contract or hiring someone for a significant job, ask for two or three references outside of family members. Ideally, they should be people who have performed similar work with the company in question. If they don't provide them or hesitate, find a company that will.
Search the Better Business Bureau for information on the company. If it comes up clean, then you can relax a little bit. If there are any infractions against the company, bring them up specifically to the company in question or simply find someone else to work with. If no information comes up for the company, contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information available.
Get every agreement that you make with a company in writing. Ask to see relevant licenses, surety bonds and insurance papers. If you are particularly worried, call their insurance company or the local relevant regulatory commission.
Be wary of criminal activity. Even if you believe fervently that the laws are unfair, people who break the law in professional matters are putting the people that they work with--and that includes you--at risk of legal consequences. In most cases, illegal activity constitutes a breach of contract--and if they do not respect their contracts, then you may be their next victim.
Check addresses and phone numbers to ensure that they are genuine. If you are dealing with a company either outside the country or your region, find someone to check out the business for you independently. Some businesses conduct third-party verification for a small fee.
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