We live in a world where security is more and more prevalent each and every day in our lives. This is an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless and one that should not be ignored. We also live in a world where people are willing to defraud others for their own personal gain and the security industry is not immune.
Security is now a necessity, especially here in the United States, but where do you start when you need to find and implement security? What do you look for when you conduct this search?
Most would say start with social media. Ask around and get word-of-mouth recommendations. Some would just start by going to Google or even websites like Craiglists (yikes!). We have even seen security on “gig economy” type of websites like Thumbtack where they say they “verify” everyone and all companies before they can start to render services.
But, how thorough are those verifications? What are they actually verifying? How do you know you are receiving services from a legally compliant security service provider?
Do you know how to spot a fraud? We do. What may sound and look good may actually turn out to be your worst nightmare.
Here is a list of our top indicators of good security vs the frauds:
- Ask for insurance: Any security provider will be happy to furnish their insurance as this is an additional layer of protection and value add to those that hire the providers. The frauds will not just be hesitant, but they may just up and disappear. Only the brazen ones will furnish a doctored Certificate of Insurance.
- Ask for their state license: A state license to become a Private Security Contractor Agency is not just expensive, but it is difficult to do. First off, for Illinois at least, you need at least 5 years of continuous security service in a management role. Then, you will need to have a sponsor who backs your experience up. Finally, you need to take and pass the Private Security Contractor Agency test after spending a few thousand dollars. Frauds will, of course, bypass this altogether.
- Ask for references: This is a hit or miss tip because it is so easy for people to put a friend down as a reference and say they are a “business owner” or someone who the potential provider has done work for in the past. So, if you go this route, make sure you can verify who the reference is, where they work and make sure they actually are who they say they are.
- Do your own due diligence: Nothing is stopping you from taking it a step further and actually hiring an accredited investigator or investigative firm from doing a due diligence check. In fact, we encourage it! But, again, you will need to do your research to ensure that the investigator(s) are who they say they are, especially if the potential provider is claiming to be law enforcement, military or anything similar.
As you can see it is not a cut and dry process or is there a simple solution. Fact of the matter is, is you have to your research and make sure you are hiring fully licensed, fully insured and experience security providers.
But, is that where it ends? You did you research. You did your due diligence. Now what?
Now, the security provider can start sending their officers and that’s it right? Wrong.
In states like Illinois, New York, California and others the security officers from your security provider must be licensed as well. The process for security officers is not as intense, but it is still a required process.
Make sure you are able to view the licensing and certifications of each security officer. But, we would encourage you to go a step further and request background checks on each security officer providing protection to you and those around you.
We here at Head of Security always say security starts here. What that means is security starts with you. It starts with you the individual. Protect yourself at all times, but also make sure if you are hiring people to provide protection that they are who they say they are and they have your best interests in mind.