Spring is nearly here, and that means it’s time for another reminder about some of the common scams that continue to plague the alarm industry. While these alarm industry scams take a variety of forms, they all have the same purpose–tricking you into unknowingly switching your alarm monitoring to a new company, usually one with far inferior service than most reputable alarm companies (such as Dynamark Security). The scams are more of a problem in warm weather due to the fact that they are most often perpetrated by door-to-door “sales people”, who in many cases are simply college students hired by an alarm company and given some rudimentary training.
In order to help you avoid becoming a victim of these scams, below we’ve outlined a few of the most common variations and ways to avoid them.
“We’re here to upgrade your system…”
One of the most frequently used tricks by the less reputable alarm company sales reps is to look in people’s yards for signs indicating they have a monitored alarm. Most companies, including Dynamark Security of Richmond, give their customers signs to put in their yard so that would-be burglars know their home is a hardened target. While the signs might help keep away burglars, they actually attract alarm company sales reps.
These reps will often knock on the door of the home and imply that they are affiliated with whatever company you are currently using to monitor your alarm. They will often say something like “I’m here to offer you a free upgrade to your system”, or “Your alarm company was recently purchased by our company and we’re here to transfer your contract”. They will then have you sign some paperwork that, unbeknownst to you, actually switches your monitoring to a different company.
“I’m with Honeywell…”
Another variation on the scam listed above is that the door-to-door sales reps will wear shirts with the GE or Honeywell logo on them (many alarm systems use equipment manufactured by GE or Honeywell). Using the same method of approaching homes with security company yard signs in them, they will tell you that your equipment is out of date, but you are eligible for a free upgrade. They may not actually come right out and say that they work for GE or Honeywell, but they will certainly apply it, both through their clothing and the language they use.
The fact is that neither GE or Honeywell offers alarm monitoring services, and they certainly don’t sell alarm systems door to door. If someone comes to your door wearing a shirt with those logos on it and starts talking about alarm systems, it’s a dead give-away that it is a scam.
“Your alarm company doesn’t have…”
Some door-to-door alarm system sales reps take a different approach. Instead of trying to pretend they are someone they’re not, they will try and convince the homeowner that their current alarm monitoring company is deficient in some way. They’ll make claims like “Your current company doesn’t offer wireless monitoring”, or “Your current company can no longer upgrade your equipment”–or something to that effect. The truth is that, for the most part, all alarm companies sell very similar equipment or even the exact same equipment. The only difference between them is the level of service they will provide, both in terms of the monitoring service and how quickly they can fix technical problems with your system. The alarm companies with terrible service know that if they leave it up to homeowners to find them, they’ll never get any customers, because the first thing people will see when researching the business is all the terrible online reviews they have.
Fortunately for you, there is a very easy way to avoid being victimized by these alarm industry scam artists. If any alarm system sales rep comes to your door, simply get their business card, and then research their company after they leave. Look for how many reviews people have left them online and what the average star rating is (Dynamark Security of Richmond has over a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Home Advisor). See if they are registered with the Better Business Bureau and if so what their grade is (Dynamark Security of Richmond has an A+).
Also, if you are a current customer of an alarm monitoring company which you are satisfied with, you should contact that company to verify any claims made by the sales rep who came to your door (especially if he was claiming to work for your current alarm company). One thing you should know is that Dynamark Security of Richmond does not use door to door sales reps and never arrives at your home without warning, so if someone arrives at your door without contacting you ahead of time and claims to work for us, you should be very suspicious. If this happens, call us immediately and let us know, so we can either clear up the confusion or warn other customers in your area about a potential scam.