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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Stay Scam-Free With Self-Storage Talk

By John Carlisle Comments
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I'm blessed to get to know so many hard-working, honest people in the self-storage industry. However, the sad truth is that so many others are not so honest, and they would love nothing better than to take advantage of a small-business owner or manager.

The good news is that you have a weapon to fight back with in Self-Storage Talk, the official online forum for Inside Self-Storage. A quick search for "scam" reveals discussions of several different cons industry people have been approached with. Some are recent, some are defunct (hopefully), but it's good to read through these threads and see what you need to aware of.

For example, member ssmgr posted this thread just yesterday detailing an in-person scam that a tenant pulled on a facility. The tenant, who's now delinquent and headed to auction, was running a junk haul-away business and rented a unit as a "home base" to sort through the finds. The tenant was in and out of the facility in a pickup truck constantly, hauling numerous items she acquired from apartment evictions and other places. Basically, the tenant got a free month, paid for a second, but then abandoned all the "junk" items in the unit, not at all concerned about the lien and taking all the items of value with her. The facility now has a unit full of trash, must auction it and clean it, and probably won't recoup any lost revenue.

Just two days ago, word of an e-mail scam hit the forum. You can read more about it here, but to sum it up, a scammer contacts the facility by e-mail, wanting a 5-by-10 unit for an "electronics" business but first asks the facility to receive a FedEx or DHL shipment on the scammer's behalf. It sounds fishy—because it is.

Unfortunately, scammers and spammers aren't going away, especially in the advanced age of technology in which we live. In addition, because of the nature of the self-storage business, you'll probably be a target for quite a few nefarious plots. The best thing you can do is be aware and stay informed. Do you have any scams that you would like to alert the industry about? Start a thread on SST. Of course, you have to be a registered member to post, but don't worry it's free to join and takes only a few minutes.

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