Obviously, homeowners want to feel safe in their home. However, not every security company is created equal. The Federal Trade Commission encourages residents to use caution when considering offers made by home security agents.
Always take precautions
Sometimes, a home security company will hire sales agents to walk through neighborhoods going door-to-door in an attempt to add to their clientele. This, in and of itself, does not necessarily confirm a scam. If a homeowner is interested in the products and services being offered, there are signs that indicate a possible scam.
It is important to remember that whenever an individual knocks on your door, you should be cautious. Do not open your door to anyone offering you products or services until you see his/her identification.
Possible Red flags
1. Pressures you
Remember that if you are not interested in a product or service, it is not rude to inform the salesperson of this; however, it is easier (and much safer) to say no before allowing the person to enter your home.
2. Limited time offers
The salesperson may state that the special is only available for a short time. For example, free equipment. A salesperson may say this in an attempt to get you to sign an expensive, long-term monitoring contract.
3. Scare tactics
You may be told that there has been a string of burglaries in your vicinity.
The salesperson may state that your current security company is out of business and they took over your company’s accounts.
Current affairs: The free security system or equipment update scam
An individual, claiming to work with the homeowner’s home security company or the company that manufactures the home security equipment, knocks on the door. It is important to note that this is just a random visit no appointment has been made. The person claims to be there to switch the outdated equipment to a new, upgraded version.
This nationwide scam first emerged in 2008. At that time, college students were duped into performing the scam because they thought they were actually participating in a reality television show. This scam re-emerged in June of 2014.
How to avoid becoming a victim
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you obtain the following information from any individual/business you are considering doing business with, the contractor’s:
- Address (street address, not a P.O. Box)
- Phone number
- License number and issuing state
- Name the license is filed under
Once you have this information, take the time to investigate the company using the following authorities:
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- State licensing officials
- State Attorney General
- Local consumer protection agency
If you decide that you would like to install a home security system, get a written estimate. Keep in mind that a reputable security company will not try to sell you anything until your home is assessed. The company performs a home assessment to determine which of its security products offer you the best protection.
Always ask questions
Some of the questions you should consider asking include:
- How much do monitoring services cost?
- How often will I receive a bill?
- How long is the contract period for monitoring?
- Is there a fee for early termination?
Doing research and asking questions is the best way to avoid becoming a victim of a scam. These tips pertain to all scams, not just those related to the security industry.