During the summer months there are usually a rash of reports of sales people going door-to-door and offering to upgrade or install new security systems in neighborhoods throughout the southeast. Usually companies hire college kids looking for a good summer job, and these door knockers will be out from early in the morning until 7 or 8 pm. There are many companies that operate in an ethical manner, however there are multiple reports every year of companies looking to defraud customers and misrepresent themselves. Here are a few things to look out for if you find yourself with a door knocker looking to sell or upgrade your alarm system this summer.
Door Knocking Scam Strategies to Look Out For:
- The person(s) may claim to work for your security company or claim that your security company has recently gone out of business.
- They may report a recent rash of burglaries in your neighborhood to create concern.
- They may tell you your system needs to be upgraded and ask if they can enter your home to evaluate your current system.
- Once inside, they may give you the bad news that your current system cannot protect you properly and offer to upgrade your system.
- They may claim there are a limited number of “free” upgraded systems they are giving away.
- In reality, with this upgrade they will disconnect your service provider and install a new system from their company that may bind you into a long term agreement with high penalties.
Protect Yourself from Door Knocking Scams:
- Never allow anyone into your home who claims to be from your alarm company without contacting the company first.
- Always ask for their State Alarm License Number or an ID badge with their company name - all ADS Security personnel have a state issued alarm license.
- Ask questions if they are reluctant to provide answers – that’s a red flag.
- Don’t be frightened if they claim reports of increased burglaries in your area – this is a fear tactic.
- Never sign an agreement when you feel pressured to do so or have not read it thoroughly.
- The Better Business Bureau is an excellent resource to research a company’s reputation and reliability. Nationwide, nearly 160 security companies have a BBB rating of a C or below – use the BBB website to reference a company’s rating. This is a small fraction of the roughly 12,000 security companies currently operating in the US in a trustworthy and ethical manner, but it’s important to understand the kind of company you are dealing with.