Every year during hurricane season EPI and its parent company International Protection Group, LLC receive numerous calls and requests about post-disaster security. 2017 has been no exception. Following the destruction caused by Harvey, Irma and then Maria we have received and reviewed many of these requests.
It becomes extremely important during times like these to remember that scams and scam artists run rampant and unfortunately tend to go on un-checked until it’s too late. Regulations in affected areas tend to be reduced due to emergent needs and there will never be a shortage of those scheming to get a pay day out of someone’s misfortune.
In times like these, due diligence is an art that MUST be practiced by everyone, especially individuals and companies in the security industry. At EPI, we stress the importance of listening, verifying and confirming information. All too often we see “posts” stating “I’m not the POC…” or “send resumes to xx##@Gmail, yahoo or Hotmail.com”. As admins of several groups in social media, we tend to allow these posts as this has become the new norm and way of finding qualified personnel. Unfortunately, we also become the recipients of phone calls, emails and messages from our graduates and friends who have been taken advantage of or realized just in time that what they thought sounded like a great thing was in fact fraudulent.
This is a very small community when you dive into the heart of the industry. Typically, everyone knows someone who knows a guy or knows a gal. Most states have online verification systems where you can check a company’s/individual’s licensing/credentials. Most states also have their regulations regarding private security published on their regulatory agencies websites. When in doubt, ask questions. If a company is established and licensed, there should be no issue finding them in an open source search. If you have questions as to the legality of certain aspects of practicing in a particular area, again, most of that information is available in an open source search. Bottom line, don’t fall victim to illegitimate contracts/assignments. Perform your due diligence and when in doubt, ask.
Jessica Ansley, PPS