Residential security systems can be an effective measure to protect your home from break-ins, but homeowners should be extremely cautious when alarm salespeople come knocking.
Residents should beware of non-reputable sales "house calls" wherein high-pressure sales agents go door-to-door selling security alarms, presenting themselves as alarm company sales agents. They are using the role to scam unsuspecting homeowners into buying pricey security systems they don't need, or even setting the stage to commit crimes such as burglary and theft. The summer months tend to bring an increase in this activity.
Some non-reputable alarm companies appear to be using sales agents to go door-to-door, aggressively pushing homeowners to buy their products. The agents use a variety of techniques and "pitches" to get people to buy an alarm system and monitoring services. These tactics may include some of the following:
- Limited-time offers claiming immediate action is necessary.
- Offering free equipment in exchange for signing a costly monitoring contract.
- Scare tactics such as claiming a high number of residential burglaries are occurring in the neighborhood, which may or may not be true.
- Targeting homeowners with signs on their properties for security systems with other companies and then saying they are there to "upgrade" or "replace" the security system.
- Claims to represent or wear clothing with logos from major alarm manufacturers. Note: Reputable firms generally don't allow their logos to be used by door-to-door salespeople.
These tactics are meant to allow access to the home and ultimately get the homeowner to sign a contract. Agents may also claim the homeowner's current alarm company went out of business and accounts are being taken over by the agent's company. These claims should be verified by contacting the alarm company servicing your home. Residents should always check sales agent credentials and research the company's history and check its credentials with the Better Business Bureau. Reputable agents must always carry an identification card that certifies them as a Burglar Alarm System Agent (BASA). This identification has the individual's photo and company license number and it means the cardholder has been fingerprinted; drug tested and completed a full background check.
There have been reported cases in Florida where burglaries and sexual batteries have occurred following a visit from one of these rogue sales agents. Do not allow these people into your home. Do not disclose if you have an alarm system or not. If you have someone who refuses to leave, call the police immediately. For more information contact the Police Department at (954) 972-7111, or if it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.