Spotting — and Preventing — Home Security System Scams
The phone rings at home and you pick it up. Burglaries and home invasions are on the rise in your neighborhood, the caller informs you. Because you don’t yet have a home security system, your home is vulnerable. The caller then tells you that they have good news! If you’ll simply agree to an in-home consultation and to place a sign in your front yard, their company is offering you a free home security system.
If you think that sounds too good to be true, you’re right. Unfortunately, these types of home security system scams are becoming all too common.
Telephone Home Security System Scams
These types of scammers still go door-to-door soliciting homeowners, but more often than not, they use the telephone to target their prey. It’s easy for them to get your address and phone number from the internet. This allows them to put on a show of authenticity once they get you on the phone.
The goal of these home security scammers varies. The most heinous ones don’t work for a home security company at all; they simply want to gain access to your home via a sham “in-home consultation.” Once they do, they’ll know details about the layout of your house that will enable them to easily burglarize it when the opportunity presents itself. Far from making your home more secure, they want to make you into a victim.
For others, the goal is to suck you into a supposedly “free” home security system that’s far from it. While the initial installation may be free, the system is always tied to ridiculously expensive monthly monitoring fees. They know that once you’ve signed the contract, it’s too late for you to back out. While a comprehensive home security system is a good idea, buying one from fly-by-night companies is not.
Avoiding Home Security System Scams
Thankfully, there are red flags that send a clear signal that a phone call is a scammer, rather than a reputable home security company. Here are things to watch out for and ways to avoid becoming a victim of these home security scams.
Be leery of cold calls or door-to-door salesmen.
This should immediately set your warning bells off. If you receive an unsolicited solicitor via phone or a knock on the door, the best plan of action is to get their company’s information and do more research on them later. You can check out online reviews to see if previous customers were pleased with the quality of their systems, as well as the value of their monitoring services.
Don’t be bullied by “limited time” offers.
Of course, when a scammer has you on the phone or is on your front step, their goal is to get you to act now. They’ll often try to play your emotions by telling you that the supposedly “free” home security system offer only lasts through the end of the day. Do not fall into this trap. A reputable company will never try to pressure you into signing a contract.
NEVER give out personal information.
The worst of these home security system scams is designed to gain illegal entry to your home or defraud you by collecting your personal information. Never give out any personal details to anyone who claims to be from a home security company. This also applies to homeowners who currently have security systems installed. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone who claims to be from your security company, never give them your security code. Instead, hang up and call the company directly to find out what’s going on.
If you’re an existing customer, beware of unsolicited “replacement” or “upgrade” offers.
Another common ploy is for someone to arrive at your door with a plan to improve your current home security system with a free upgrade or replacement. They may claim to be from your security company or they may say that your current company is no longer in business and that their company has taken over. Again, don’t fall into this trap. Once inside, they’ll install a new system and present a contract that commits you to costly monthly monitoring fees.
Hanging up on Telemarketing Home Security System Scams
Now that you know the red flags, what’s the best way to get your phone to stop ringing? As with any telemarking calls, the best way to avoid being targeted by unscrupulous home security companies is to register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. If you continue to receive calls after your number has been on the registry for 31 days, you can make a complaint about the offending caller.
If you’re suspicious that criminal activity may be at play, report the scammers to your local authorities. For shady characters who are going door-to-door trying to gain entry into homes, make a report to your local police station. You can also file a report with the state’s Department of Justice to help them better track and investigate these individuals and companies. By doing this, you’ll not only avoid falling victim to home security system scams – you’ll protect others, as well.
At BSG, we have a strong history of experience, innovation and customer service. BSG has more than 25 years of service in San Antonio and Austin and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what BSG can do for you, contact us today (855) 697-6278.