By now, most of us have probably watched the YouTube video featuring fake surveyors fooling passersby. It’s entertaining and downright funny.
But what about the criminals who are usingour profession to fool and deceive others? It’s true that most people don’t truly understand what a surveyor really does, but they do understand that we must enter their property to perform our duties. Just like many other scams, these criminals rely on the lack of knowledge on a particular subject in order to prey on their victims. Surveying just happens to be one of those subjects.
There have been at least a couple of cases recently wherein a nefarious character used these tactics to rip-off unknowing people. The most recently reported incident was published on December 20, 2015 in Molino, Florida. Back in September, a high-profile incidentin North Reading, Massachusetts was captured by nationwide media. There are likely more that were reported on local levels and never made it to the mainstream media outlets.
Fake Surveyors versus Real Surveyors
Does this criminal behavior damage the surveying profession? In some ways, it definitely does. When a legitimate surveyor needs to perform work and approaches a land owner to discuss it with them, you can be sure there will be some hesitation by the land owner, especially if they’ve heard about the previous issues with impostors. Furthermore, they may be unaware of laws, if they exist in that particular area, which legally allow surveyors to have trespass ontheir land in order to perform their services.
All of this combined plus the importance of privacy to many people will surely make a surveyor’s job more difficult.
What can we do to improve our reputations as surveyors with all of this bad press going around?