House alarms can’t stop scammers

We moved into our house and immediately installed an alarm system to keep us safe from the bad guys. But even the best house alarms can’t stop everything – like a scammer walking through your front door.

We heard about a new house alarm scam at the FTC’s recent Common Ground conference in Utah. Here’s how it happens:

A sales agent knocks on your door, claiming he’s there to upgrade or update your house alarm or home security system. It seems like he’s with the company you use – only he isn’t. He walks in, pulls out or disconnects your old system, and installs a new one without telling you. He then asks you to sign a document – but what you don’t know is that it’s a new contract.

Most people don’t know they’ve been scammed until they get a call from their original home security system company, saying the system isn’t responding. Or they start getting bills from two different alarm companies.

Here’s what to look out for to avoid this scam:

  • Sales agents who say they represent your current security company and want to upgrade or install a new system. Or a sales person may claim that your security company has gone out of business, and say they’ve taken over your account. They might insist that you buy new equipment and sign new contracts. If that happens, call your current company to confirm, using the phone number on the paperwork you already have.
  • Sales agents who push their way into your home, or refuse to leave. It’s always safer to say no to someone on your doorstep before they come in, rather than trying to get a salesperson out of your home. Firmly tell the person no. If they continue to pressure you, close the door and call the police.
  • High-pressure or scare tactics. Limited time offers, and pressure to “act now” to protect yourself from supposed crime sprees in your neighborhood are often signs of a scam. Report it to the FTC.
Tagged with: Every Community, home, scam

Comments

That article made no sense. The second somebody disconnects your alarm system, you would receive a phone call from your current alarm company – not weeks later like you put in the article. How could somebody disconnect your alarm system and install a new one in your house which would take several hours and you not know it? That whole article was so nonsensical it's unbelievable…

Not necessary to do all the steps again. Installing a new alarm over an existing system can be done in mere minutes. Just piggyback on the existing alarm devices. Done!

so very true, especially when they push their way in on elderly people that are retired . you should really check into these Solar programs that fool you. we got hit big time by solar City aka Solarplicity. they sold us solar and put it thru a company called Hero, they did our roof that was fine, however when they did our solar they were not to add it to this years house taxes, the job was incomplete, we were forced to sign completion of the job when it was not with Threats of having to pay additional fees. I would like to know who to contact regarding this issue.

This FTC article has tips on what to do if you aren't satisfied with a product or service.

You can contact your state and local consumer protection agencies to report what happened. Also, please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses nationwide for investigations.

Our alarm company has central station monitoring, and sends us WARNINGS constantly to be aware of hustlers. When in doubt, pick up the phone for your alarm company, or the police.

Bobby, We are considering an upgrade to a reputable company. Would you consider sharing who you are using? I am impressed that yours actually alerts you to scammers/ hustlers. We're lucky if our monitor co. Tries to contact us or police within 30 mins when our alarm has gone off. I would think a professional crook would have cleared out our home in 30 mins.i totally understand if you don't feel comfortable sharing that info.

I never ever let anyone inside my home. I even make them talk thru a glass locked door and I just shake my head no, close door and set alarm back on. I do let my family in and a few neighbors that I know. Good advice!

now you tell me. too late, been there done that, didn't know that then and well here I am now reading what I should have done then. yes, be careful, don't get pressured into anything, always call your current company with the number they supplied you with when you signed up with them in the beginning. Do your research, take your time.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will help law enforcement with investigations.

The Dish Network and Direct T.V. scam by saying they will be cheaper than the other company but when you switch they say it again you swicth again and bam. YOU got scamed fine print 2 year contract and now you pay back for installation and all equipment. Its supposed to be returned free but they never send a return box or label. They just take it from bank account even after you close accounts they didnt close it.

WOW! What a startling piece of info ....in trying to be safe instead of a scam. F.Y.I :)BUYER BEWARE!

My gosh, not to be prideful, but the idea of an alarm system is with security in mind, then you open your door and let a stranger walk in, no notification from any company verifying the purpose for the visit or the service. I'm sorry, but anyone acting in that capacity needs to be supervised and cannot live on their own. They have put themselves completely at risk. Maybe the next senierio will include a jewelry dealer that goes to your bed room and removes your assets for repair at the pawn shop , Really

Other sales persons take advantage of their knowledge of the person and tells them that is a gift, make the person sign the contract, and the person realized that is not a gift when start receiving the bills. The person I mention here has mental problems and now the Company want to charge 5000 for not complying with the contract

You can report the company that took advantage of someone to your state and local consumer protection agencies. They may be able to help you deal with the company.

If you want to talk to a lawyer, this this state-by-state list from the American Bar Association will help you find someone in your state. Or you can visit this site from the State Bar Associations.

whenever I get an opportunity for business I can not open the email or that email is blurred and illegible,

Thank you for the heads up

I have complain against the ADT Security Company. They are the one who is defrauding the customers by not monitoring and charging monthly fees. The same was came in ABC news in September last week.

I get scammer phone calls all the time, but, I just got one from an Alarm company saying that my alarm, which I don't have, is over 3 years old and i can get a free upgrade. I played along with their little game and began researching the phone numbers on my caller ID and the one's they were giving me and looking into the BBB. I would put these ding dongs on hold while I researched and called these numbers. They would ask me for info on my house, how many doors, how many windows, are they all censored? They had my maiden name and my correct address. I just tell them that my satellite gps system shows them coming up in: (whatever area my phone search shows the number). They continue to deny they are scamming and then hang up. I'm not afraid of any scammer and like to give them a run for their money. lol

Security Companies are starting to use GSM Sygnal (sim card) and an additional battery in case your house lost power. Basically they work like a cell phone. If disconnected from the plug your panel will still work until the backup battery dies.

A form of this happened to us in November 2014. We filed a police report. We didn't think to call the FTC. Here's what happened. We bought a home from a bank- a foreclosure. The alarm system was installed well by ADT. We went on ADT website to "re-activate" the service as they were having a $99 re-activation special. The house is behind a guRd gate manned by armed security guards. So- an appt. was made, a youngish guy with an ADT logo on his Tshirt gets past the guard- he gets to our house, he has the Logo on the shirt- newer Prius (probably a rental) and is on time and courteous. He walks around the house for 2 hours, then tells us it will be 10k to re-install a new system. My husband was really sick at the time and not thinking clearly and the guy was pressuring him on robbery numbers, assault, kidnappings in the area, etc. I started to realize the guy was not cool, so I told him politely- "Thank You So Much For Yoyr time, but we can't afford 10k and we need time to think about this". The guy said, " I'll stay here while you decide". Then he walked around a corner, picked up about 9 small boxes and started putting up what looked like double sided sticky tape on our windows. I said "what are you doing?" He said - installing your new system. Since we just were just turning on the ADT for a few months until our security crew that actually has clients with major LEO, this con artist in front of me was literally toast. There was no way he was going to scam me any further. It took another 1.5 hours to get the guy out of our house with his 9 little boxes. At one point, Ithe guy locked himself in my office and wouldn't come out. I called ADT and they told me "there was no ADT person at our residence". We figured the ADT website had by hijacked by something called pro service. While the guy was in my office- where the alarm control panel is- I told my husband- you get him out peacefully- I'll get the gun and take over watch. At that point- we didn't know if the guy had other guys with him down the driveway, an accomplice outside the house- we went into full auto protection mode. I locked every door, my husband got him through the house and another hour out of the driveway. As soon as he was escorted out the guard gate- we called the police. Scottsdale PD showed up quickly- but the guy was long gone and what laws had he broken? We let him in. And yes- he dismantled our security system. But we put a new one in with a reputable company. In AZ- it's legal carry state. This guy was sweating the whole time. Little did he know we had a military working dog we had put in the car as a precaution so he wouldn't get hurt. Somebody with a not so level head is bound to harm these con artists if they keep at it. Looks like FTC is doing a really great job. I aknowledge I should have called 911 instead of ADT- but I honestly never saw this one coming. My thought at the time was stranger danger- get this guy out of the house without a fight. Beware of hijacked websites, call the company to verify.

It is very surprising security system can't stop scammers.

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