Identity Theft Is A Serious Risk for Moving Companies

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Last month, an Atlanta man hired a random moving company he found online, put down a deposit for his move, and …

You know where this is going.

The “company” the man hired, he soon found out, was not a real moving company. It was a scam website that used the name of a real moving company located across the country in California. This scam website, the victim told Atlanta’s WSB-TV, even linked to the real company they alleged to be’s website.

The only victim, in this case, was the man who hired the scammers—a man who happened to be a lawyer with the skills and resources to get his money back. Meanwhile, the real moving company out in California would have had no idea what was happening if the man hadn’t reached out to them. But things could have turned out much differently. They usually do.

What do they do?

We see it all the time: someone sets up a phony moving company using a real moving company’s name to appear legitimate, then proceeds to swindle people out of their money, not only by charging a deposit for their non-existent services, but by using the victim’s credit card information to make additional charges. Or in some cases, just go shopping.

But the scam can also affect the moving company whose name has been stolen. Victims can start posting bad reviews on the real moving company’s Yelp page, filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, or even contacting law enforcement authorities in an effort to get their money back while trying to make sure no one else uses these “scammers”. The effects for the legitimate moving company can be devastating.

How do they do it?

All businesses have an Employee Identification Number, or EIN, which works sort of like a social security number. These numbers are a matter of public record and are readily obtainable, sometimes even online. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that this right here can cause problems.

But that’s not the only piece of your company’s identity floating around out there; Besides your company name, address and phone number being readily available, some states require businesses to display their business license on the wall of their establishment, with their state registration information framed and hung for all to see.

With any of these few bits of information – printed out on a copy of your company letterhead, an extra nice touch as The Balance explains – it can be fairly easy for a person to set up a line of credit in your company’s name.

The savvier scammers out there even know how to change the information on your state registration files, one of the many additional schemes that Business ID Theft tells us to look out for. Spend some time reading through the various steps you can take to protect yourself and your company.

While you’re at it, check this page to review your business filings, and make sure you’ve kept up to date with all the required paperwork.

Here are some simple things you can do to prevent company identity theft:

  • Run periodic credit checks on your company
  • Read through your monthly credit card and bank statements carefully
  • Check Yelp for any false reviews
  • Be aware of your social media presence. Who’s posting what about you or what’s on your own Facebook page
  • Monitor your BBB rating if you are an active member
  • Set up a Google Alert for your own company’s name
  • Simply Google your company name every once in a while

Making sure you don’t end up with a sullied reputation is, sadly, a part of doing business. But you’ve worked hard to build up your business and your good name. Take the necessary steps to make sure no one out there destroys it.

Here’s What Happened to Me After One Month Inside a Smart Home

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Like most 90s kids, I watched every single Disney Channel Original Movie—and there was no DCOM I loved more than Smart House. I was fascinated by the idea of a house equipped with “Personal Applied Technology” (“PAT” for short) that could listen and respond to every request while providing accurate information on demand. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted a home that could make my favorite smoothie, project any movie or music video I could imagine onto any wall, then turn my bedroom into a virtual beach.

As an adult, I still love Smart House, but for more practical reasons, admittedly.

During the process of making my house “smart” in the modern age, I discovered two common misconceptions. First, building a smart home is expensive, and second, so many gadgets require you to have to automate everything

After doing some serious digging, it turns out that neither is true. In fact, it’s possible to start off with just a wifi signal and one or two smart devices. 

Here’s what happened in my first month of installing a bunch of new devices.

It’s True: I Became Really Accustomed to Talking Out Loud to No One, Like in the Commercials

I’ve been slow to adopt the “Hey Siri” function on my iPhone, but I am all about asking my Amazon Echo to launch my favorite playlist or tell me the weather. Alexa and Echo’s personalities are like a personal butler who has more than 1,000 specific skills. I’ve learned to ask mine for everything from calling an Uber to helping me manage my finances. I felt weird at first about giving commands to an empty room, but I quickly learned to love the hands-free, immediate feedback Alexa provides.

The Echo, Apple’s new HomePod, and Google Home all serve as central hubs for your newly connected home. If you’re still uncertain about smart home tech (or if you want to feel like you’re actually living in Smart House) I highly recommend starting off with one of these gadgets.

I Actually Started to Feel Safer (and Got Accustomed to the Convenience Quickly)

One key reason that people enter the smart house game is for improved home security. It’s possible to go big with wireless cameras, motion sensors, doorbells, smoke alarms and more, but I started with a smart lock after seeing the technology at a few Airbnb stays. You’ve probably used keypad entry locks, but did you know that you can now open your lock with your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone simply by approaching the door or with a single fingerprint? Yes, James Bond, it’s true!

I definitely feel safer living alone after installing a smart lock. The technology is notoriously difficult to “pick,” and there’s no risk of my keys falling into the wrong hands or of forgetting to lock the door when I leave. I can also remotely grant entry to my dog-walker. Finally, I’ve gone a whole month without dropping my groceries, gym bag, purse and lunchbox in a pile on my steps as I search for my keys.

I Slowly Stressed Less About Both Cooking and Cleaning

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Adulting is hard work, and I often struggle to find the time to prepare a wholesome meal and deep clean my home. I’ve long known about the magic of slow-cooking, but the Smart Crock-Pot takes it to the next level. I can control the device from my smartphone, which means I can adjust time, temperature, or power if I’m running late for dinner—no more relying on the appliance itself to switch over to warm or turn off.  

Similar to slow cookers, robot vacuums have been on the market for awhile, and now I’m wondering why I didn’t invest sooner. The Roomba is the most recognizable of the bunch, but there’s a wide range of options for cost and functionality—and most can be programmed and scheduled with your smart home hub. Sigh of relief over here as my robot vacuum takes over the burden of this unpleasant chore.

My Dog Got Hooked on the Automation Too

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Smart home tech also extends to pets. My dog likes to be fed on a schedule—he knows exactly when dinner is on its way and makes sure to remind me if I’m a minute behind. Like a smart slow cooker, a wifi-enabled smart dog feeder is a lifesaver if I’m working late or have other evening plans. My feeder allows me to set up mealtimes and portion sizes right from my phone. I’ve found that my dog is less likely to whine at my feet for food and treats because he knows to expect it regularly from his feeder. He’s even lost a little bit of extra weight since we started using this gadget, and I feel like a more responsible dog parent.

Disney was remarkably prescient about the future of home automation when it created Smart House. It may have seemed far-fetched back then, but it turns out you actually can live out that childhood dream of having your house do everything for you! 


Emily Long is a home safety and automation expert for SafeWise. She loves to geek out on new tech gadgets and home improvement projects. When she isn’t writing about smart home tech, she can be found teaching yoga, road tripping or hiking in the mountains.
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