These faded, outdated signs give scammers the perfect opportunity to target your home, insisting you must upgrade your home security system. In reality, you are being victimized in a different way than the classic burglary. Many people refuse to buy anything from door-to-door salesman, just because there are so many of them, but when it comes to our security and safety, we may feel obliged. Dodgy deals and fly-by-night companies which have popped up, so don't get caught up in a cheap alarm system and an expensive security monitoring contract. Here are 4 of the most common home security scams, how they work, and how you can avoid them:
A scam artist will come to your home pretending to be a representative or technician from your current security company. The scammer then proceeds to claim that you need to install an upgrade to your security system. Most probably the upgrade comes with a contract that you need to sign too. Many victims feel pressurized into signing these contracts with cleverly rehearsed hard selling tactics, only to realize later on that cancelation of the contract will lead to paying exorbitant fines.
A clue that you are about to be part of one of these security scams is a pressuring sales person that's pushier than average. It's really that simple. Always take your time look at any contract, and don't be intimidated by pushy salesmen waving long-term contracts in the air which do not match up with what you've previously signed for with your current security provider.
This is when a salesperson shows up at your home trying to convince you to install a new system. Once again, some cleverly rehearsed sales tactics may convince you to purchase a new system which you do not really need. You will be asked to sign several documents, and demand a large deposit. After paying out this deposit, you will then never hear from the company again.
You can avoid this scam by calling the company and asking what their maximum deposit fee is. Most security scams are well beyond the average fee for a real security company. If in doubt, you can always send an online request for your company to send a salesperson out to you.
“Our company computer has been picking up glitches with your system and I’m here to repair it.” This is the classic line for technician security scams. These scammers see a sign outside your home and pretend to be from the same company. They will tell you to let them inside in order to “repair” your system. This security scam is, in fact, not fixing your system, but instead tampering with it so that it is disarmed. This gives them a prime opportunity to come back at a later stage and burglarize, or invade your home.
Companies will almost never ask to come into your home to fix an issue that isn’t an issue to you. If a strange person shows up on your doorstep without receiving at least a phone call from the company, DO NOT let them into your home. It is acceptable to call the company and ask if a legitimate technician has been sent out to your location. If they say no, it's definitely a security scam, and you should not let them into your home. Also be sure to dial the correct number for the company when you do call, and not a number the technician has suddenly provided you with.
Sometimes a security scammer will call your home saying that the original company you had a contract with has gone out of business and that they have taken over their contracts. This is the first step to find out which customers may be receptive and take the bait. And many do. The hope is that you will eventually install expensive new equipment and sign new, extremely long-term contracts.
If your security company goes out of business you will receive a call from your original company telling you that they are going out of business. They will give you real steps on how to get out of your contract, or start a new one with the company taking over.
A home security system can be a shield for your home, but it can also open you up to more than a few security scams. Being smart about who you listen to and who you let into your home is the best way to avoid being a victim of security scams. Remember, when in doubt, turn away the person who is at your front door or on the phone, and call the security company yourself. They will be able to verify if the sales person or technician is legitimate or not.