Following up on the first part speaking on red flags, I still think it is very important to stay secure even when clients seem to be all that safe. No matter how long the list gets for red flags to look out for, there will always be other signs we can’t catch right away or even some less than honest clients who manage to pass a trust-test with flying colors. With that said, there is a list of things I usually go through before I go off to meet a client anywhere.
1. Search up any information about the client. I think this one can go without saying because we always google folks we don’t know to see if we can find out more information about them online. Find any social media pages, articles, contact information, or webpages with their information and possibly even a photo attached so you have an idea who this person really is.
2. Email or text the contact information of the client to a trusted person and also text them the address of the location I am expected to be meeting a client at. I always pick a close friend, one who knows what I do and is at least somewhat free at the time (I wouldn’t pick a friend who may not be able to leave their post due to job or curfew issues). They need to know where you are expected to be at and between what time. If there is no specific end time, the next step is what follows.
3. Check in periodically throughout the meeting. After an hour or so, send a brief text. Anything just so they know you’re there. Pro-tip: iPhone-to-iPhone users have the feature of sharing locations. I always tend to leave that on shared and have the other person just check that periodically and any time my location changes, I just update them by clicking “send my location” so they know I’ve moved.
4. With that said, in case you don’t have iPhone, but you do have a smart phone with Google Maps, you can always send them your GPS location by text or look up the address of where you’re standing and send it in a text message whenever you change locations. No smart phone means you’ll have to look out for the address of where you’re standing or at least send them location land marks or best guesses.
5. Best times to text/update is during breaks or you can ask for a moment to take an important call/message. If the job is strict with phone usage, take the opportunity to figure out by what time is the job done by asking. I’d forward this information to my trusted person.
6. Any thoughts-feelings about anything, always text them to the person. If you’re probably not feeling the client, text them that. Not feeling well, let them know. If you’re feeling uncertain but still want to move forward with the client, let your trusted person know! They’ll know then to be extra cautious and probably check in more frequently. Also doesn’t hurt to text any details of the event or describe the people involved.
7. Once you are done with the task, text it! Always follow up with texts on when you’re leaving and when you’re on the road back home. Finally, if needed be, follow up with a text or location update when you’re home so that you and your trusted person know you are safe and sound.
This all may sound very tedious and make you wonder what kind or line of work one does but this is generally my go-to list of things to do whenever I’m meeting anyone for the first time or at an unknown event/location. This is also really good for just meeting people from online sites – dating or not. Generally the rule is that you should always let a trusted person know where you are going to be so that if anything happens, they have a hint at where to look for you first.
As always, feel free to share any tips on staying safe when meeting a client (or really anybody) for the first time.