September 4, 2012
The Service Technician at Your Door Might Be a Burglar, but Even Door Knocker Salespeople Can Still Rip You Off
I’m seeing more and more reports from across the US warning you about the people coming to your door. In some cases, it may be a man dressed in an ADT shirt with a clipboard, who is actually a burglar trying to case your home. He’d prefer that you not be home. Or, it may be a legitimate salesperson from a “door knocker” alarm company; however, there is plenty of evidence that some of them are actively trying to steal customers from other alarm companies. Both types are thieves. Today I’ll share three recent articles that cover both topics, starting with this one from Muskegon, Michigan.
A man posing as an ADT Security System worker attempted to gain entry into a Muskegon woman’s home recently, police said. The incident occurred around 12:30 p.m. June 9 at a home in the 1600 block of Elwood Street when a woman was home alone, police said. The woman had an ADT sticker on her front door. The man came to the home and told the woman he needed to come inside her home and fix her security system, police said, but the woman told him to leave.
Why It Wasn’t ADT
Police said an actual ADT worker would have had a company vehicle or ADT-issued identification. Authorities said residents shouldn't let the person in the home if they hadn't scheduled an appointment with ADT. If someone tries to enter their home as a public works or security worker and they don't present a valid piece of ID, they should call 911 or ADT to confirm a worker was sent to their home.
A Different Door-to-Door Rip Off
The South Bend Police Department says some salesmen are going door-to-door and scamming residents. They’re posing as employees from legitimate companies like ADT and targeting residents who already have security systems. The representatives have tried to get consumers to purchase upgrades to their current security system, but are unable to provide verification of their employment.
How Some Door Knockers Operate
“I thought it was very suspicious when I asked for a brochure, some kind of info, he didn’t have any,” said South Bend resident Melissa Fruscione, who got a visit from a man posing as an ADT representative a week ago. “When I asked for a business card, he didn’t have that either.” For Fruscione, the fraud was pretty easy to spot. “He did leave me his name and number and told me he worked out of Tempe,” she said. “So I Googled it and found a business with an address, but no website. So I thought that was very suspicious for that company.”
There are Door Knocker Victims
Unfortunately, some people have fallen for the charade. The SBPD says when the fake representatives make a sale, extra equipment and an additional contract with the new alarm company is put into place and the homeowner or business has what amounts to two alarm services. Police says homeowners should carefully check the credentials of anyone selling products and read the entire contract before signing an agreement.
A door-to-door solicitation in Huntsville [Alabama] could be a scam, or worse, a safety issue. There are 92 homes in the Essex Square neighborhood off Bailey Cove Road in south Huntsville. One elderly couple says men who claim to be from ADT Home Security are showing up unannounced. The men are casing homes, and are not ADT employees.
How the Scams Work
WHNT News talked with people who say it all starts with a valid security sign posted in your yard. This gives would-be robbers the incentive to knock on your door. The person introduces himself, and then gives a sales pitch. Door-to-door scams involving bad business and bad guys are growing fast, according to Michele Mason, president of the local Better Business Bureau. “Our national office has said that the complaints on door-to-door solicitation have already doubled … and we are definitely seeing a surge right now in our community,” said Mason.
Beware the Door Knocker
Men claiming to be with ADT, wearing shirts that say “Security” offer no identification when they knock on doors. ADT says that’s not their protocol. “ADT employees are required to present proper company identification and their Alabama Electric Board of Security Badge,” the company said in a statement. So, that’s ADT’s stance.
Many Alarm Companies Resent Door Knockers Pushing Home Alarms
But as it turns out, there’s another company in the phone book called ADS Security. We talked with ADS General Manager Kevin Whitley. He says he is disgusted by the door-to-door trends he is seeing. “It hurts our image as well,” said Whitley. “We refer to them generically within the industry as summer companies, and what they do is they send a band of young salespeople and they are very aggressive.”
What Can You Do?
So how can you protect yourself and your property? First, ask for the person’s company ID. Make sure it has a picture and a name. “If you’re selling security systems in the state of Alabama you are required to have a license,” said Whitley. “It looks something like this, person’s name, their picture and how to make sure they are licensed in the state. There is even an expiration date on here.”
Additional Steps to Take
If the person doesn’t have these things, what should you do? “The first thing they should do is close the door,” Whitley said. “If you are uneasy or you feel like you are threatened at all, call the police. [Also] please call the Better Business Bureau.” We’re not saying it’s a scam to go door-to-door. “There are certain guidelines they have to follow and being pushy or threatening is not one of them,” said Mason.
As our customers know very well, FrontPoint has never sold door-to-door – and we are the most transparent (and most highly regarded) alarm company you can find. On-line shoppers quickly learn why we’re the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security: our long list of five-star reviews spells out very clearly what makes us the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Being on top means we have to prove ourselves in every aspect of our business – with systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And best of all, you never have to wonder if that shady person at your door is from FrontPoint – he’s not. Don’t let him in, and when in doubt, call the police immediately.