The Covert Burglar
Your home security system is designed to protect you from intruders, dangerous chemicals, and animals, among other things. One thing it cant protect you against is pushy salesman at your doorstep that arent telling the truth. They may tell you they are from your current provider, or pose as a competitor; they may begin with burglary statistics or tell you the faults in your current system. The goal is always the same: to get your money through illegitimate means.
Determining the validity of a door-to-door salesmans product can be a daunting task, but with the right information, you can rid yourself of scammers in favor of a reliable home security provider.
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How It Works
As in any good horror story, it all begins with a knock on the door. When a homeowner opens it, the salesman (or saleswoman) begins his ploy for selling you his home security system. Sales pitches might includefake statistics about crimes in your area, claims that your current provider has been purchased by a bigger company, or assertions that your home security system is not keeping you safe. Once this information scares the homeowner enough to let the salesman in, he:
- Can steal valuables around your house
- Refuse to leave if you do not do as he tells you to
- Can ask you to write a personal check as a deposit for the system, then leave, never to be heard of again
But these are not the only dangers from illegitimate home security systems. Fake technicians may also come to your door claiming to be from a home security provider or from your current home security provider. They often assert that they are here to update your serviceor give you an estimate to gain entry to your home. Once inside, these technicians tamper with your current home security system, or even harm your family.
So, with all these dangers in mind, how can you tell if the person at your door is from a legitimate home security provider?
Do Your Research
The most important tool you can have is knowledge. Always ask questions of the person at your door and verify all the information he or she is giving you. Here are some tips to protect yourself from illegitimate home security system vendors.
Before letting the salesman in:
- Ask for the contractors license number, state that issued the license, and name under which the license is filled.
- Get the contractors name, street address (not a P.O. Box), and telephone number.
Verify this information on a computer or through the phone.
While the salesman or contractor is examining your property:
- Keep a close eye on him.
- Watch your valuables or hide them before he enters.
- Tell him which rooms he may enter and which he may not.
When preparing to buy a system:
- Get written estimates of the cost of the systems installation and monthly fee.
- Read the fine print. If something does not add up to a promise that the salesman made you, do not sign the contract.
- Ask plenty of questions.
- See what other home security companies are offering.
A rule of thumb when dealing with home security salesman is to know the facts. If you are armed with the correct knowledge, you will know who is a legitimate salesman of home security products and who is trying to scam you.