Consumer Alert: Free Alarm Scam Knocking On Doors Across The US And Canada

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely heard about the various free home alarm scams sweeping the states and Canadian provinces.  Someone will typically knock on your door with promises of a free home alarm system with minimal restrictions – when the truth in the fine print may be a whole other story. While warnings and alerts concerning fraudulent companies are widespread on the Internet, seniors are at a higher risk to fall prey to schemes like these, according to a recent FBI report.

Unfortunately, these scams aren’t likely to stop anytime soon, even thought there are numerous lawsuits and settlements currently pending against many of these scammer companies. Here are some common tactics they use and several ways that you can protect yourself from becoming victim to a free home alarm scam if you are approached by salesperson at your residence.

Consider the Approach – Is it Too Good to Be True?

It’s wise to be wary of a solicitor offering you something for nothing. One of the most popular methods employed by scammers is the promise of a free home alarm in exchange for the placement of a sign in your yard that touts the company’s logo. Slamming is another method used, where a salesman falsely explains that your current company is going out of business and they are going to ‘switch’ your account to another firm.

While your alarm system may indeed be free, you could find yourself trapped into a long-term contract with higher fees than most comparable – yet reliable – companies charge for monthly monitoring fees. If you’re faced with one of these pushy sales tactics, here are some things to explore before you’re tempted by this ‘deal of a lifetime.’

How to Protect Yourself from a Home Alarm Scam

  1. Never allow anyone into your home on the first visit. Rather, request a printed brochure and a business card, as ID’s and badges can easily be forged. You did ask for ID, didn’t you? This gives you time to explore the company’s reputation and confirm the credentials of the salesperson. The Canadian segment of the Better Business Bureau is an excellent resource to check for company data.
  2. Be wary of ‘limited time’ or ‘today only’ claims. A clever sales tactic used here is the promise of immediate installation. Essentially, the salesperson will often double as an installation tech in this scam.
  3. With number two in mind, be sure to ask for licensing credentials from whoever would be installing the system. If the technician isn’t credentialed, it’s unlikely the hosting company is either.
  4. If you’re looking for conveniences like interactive services or cellular monitoring, ask how much the bottom line monthly charges are. These premium services often cost extra, and you might not realize the total costs until you get your first bill.
  5. Call your home insurance company to see if this particular provider is one that will qualify you for the standard insurance discounts for home alarm systems. If the provider isn’t on their list, they likely aren’t a reputable company.
  6. Get everything in writing and read the fine print. Don’t forget important questions about the monitoring service and protections they are promising, such as:
    • Is there a fee for early termination? You want to know how much it might cost if the service isn’t what you expect it to be.
    • Are there local patrol cars working for the company?
    • If the alarm sounds, do you call the police or company first?
    • Are there charges for false alarms?

There are several reputable alarm companies out there that do deliver what they promise. However, if you’ve had a costly experience with a free alarm scam, consider contacting an experienced attorney that can determine if you have a legal claim against the provider. For more information, talk to companies like A+ Security.

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