This past week, my wife and I had the unfortunate event of a “home security” company knocking on my door and offering us a new security system.
Their approach was smooth; the sales pitch, flawless.
And they had some great upgrade options for free.
(Automatic locking doors, wireless cameras and a thermostat controlled by our iphones)
But when all was said and done, something just didn’t feel right…
The company had stated that we had a 30 day “trial period” but the fine print on the contract stated we only had 3 days to cancel.
All of the “free upgrades” ended up almost doubling our current bill.
Coupled with the nearly 1300 complaints in the BBB based on these same sales tactics, my wife and I decided to immediately cut ties with this company.
It was my fault for not doing more research, but…. you live and learn.
Afterwards though it got me thinking, how many other people have been led astray by these same tactics.
Upon doing more research, I found out that we were not the only ones to fall victim to this…. but it could have been much worse!
That evening I turned on the news and actually caught this story (originally posted on KXAN Austin):
The home security sign in your front yard is meant to scare off intruders, but it could actually be making you a target of a scam.
Fake salesmen are going door to door posing as security company representatives and asking to come into people’s homes. The scam ends up costing victims thousands of dollars.
It was on Monday evening when homeowner Maria Avila got an unexpected knock at her front door.
“Actually, he said, ‘I’m with your security company we are here to do an update on your system I want to look at your box and I need to come inside your home,'” said Avila, who lives in East Austin.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
- Check to make sure sales reps have a DPS Certified License
- Look for a company issued badge and number
- Call your security company to verify the visit.
- Never sign any documents unless the visit is verified by your security company.
It was when she called Point Security that she says she immediately knew something wasn’t right. The next day, the salesman returned to her home still attempting to change her system.
“I told him I called my company and they told me they hadn’t sent anyone out,” said Avila. He then told me he was with another company instead.”
It’s a story Chris Quinn with Point Security says he hears often.
“They make their shirts, they make badges, they try to use sales techniques and unethical sales practices,” said Quinn.
He says his customers are being tricked into thinking they’re getting an update to their current alarm instead when they sign off on paperwork they’re actually signing a contract for a separate system.
“Before you know it you’re in a company issued agreement with two companies meaning you are paying two bills and it’s a very big issue,” said Quinn.
Point Security says while they still recommends that homeowners keep security signs in their yard to scare away intruders following several steps can also protect you from scammers.
For Avila, she says she’s glad she asked all the right questions before easily becoming a victim.
“People need to be aware to not let just anyone come in no matter what they claim to be doing,” said Avila.
Home burglaries typically rise during the summer months with families leaving for vacations. Experts say scammers are armed with that knowledge and are ready to act like they’re going to protect you.
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