How to Avoid Dangerous Security Scams
In a perfect world, you could trust any salesperson who came to your doorstep. Unfortunately, not everyone who approaches you with a good bargain is exactly who they seem.
Every summer, homeowners fall victim to home security system scams and lose hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to fake salespeople. In a worst-case scenario, a fake salesperson can use your information to either steal your identity or break into your home later to take expensive items.
Fortunately, it only takes following a few easy steps to avoid security scams. Follow these tips to stay safe:
- Always Ask for ID
Before you let any technician or salesperson inside your home, ask to see their credentials. All real employees should be able to verify their identities and prove that the work for the company they claim to represent.
If a salesperson becomes angry when you ask for identification or insists that identification isn’t necessary, you probably have a scam artist on your hands, not a legitimate salesperson.
- Get Several Written Quotes
A scam artist needs to make their sale as quickly as possible, so they’ll use whatever tactics they can to get you to purchase their equipment right away. They might give you a written quote if you insist, but because they need to leave quickly and with as much money as possible, they’ll probably give you one price and stick with it until you agree to the sale.
If you aren’t positive that your salesperson is a legitimate company representative, don’t make any purchases or sign any contracts. Instead, ask for a written quote. Then, take the time to compare the price the salesperson gives you with prices from similar companies. If the price was exorbitantly high, it probably didn’t come from a real security company employee.
- Ask Your Friends for Advice
Before you settle on a security company, talk to your friends, family members, and neighbors about their preferred home security system. Ask them about who installed the equipment, whether or not it was installed on time, and how effectively it works. Then, call the recommended company and ask any additional questions.
Friend referrals aren’t always helpful (for instance, you and your friends may have very different security needs), but they’re more reliable than salespeople who come to your door and try to commit you to a same-day sale.
- Be Wary of Anyone Who Insists You Need to Upgrade
If you display a security company’s sign on your property, you give yourself an edge over lazy burglars who only want to target easy-to-enter homes. However, canny con artists might see the sign and attempt to sell you “upgraded” security equipment from the same company.
Don’t trust anyone who claims to represent your current company unless the company already called. Chances are slim that your security company would send someone over to have you re-sign paperwork and pay a fee without talking to you about it first. And if your security system needed to be upgraded, your company would certainly explain why and give you different options before forcing you into a same-day purchase.
- Check the Company’s Licenses
If the salesperson came from a company you don’t recognize, ask to see the company’s license and check it with the Better Business Bureau or the state Attorney General’s office. If the company doesn’t have the correct licensing or if their license is out of date, don’t make any purchases.