How to Spot and Avoid Home Security Scams

Written by | Updated January 6, 2017

Home security systems are big business in the U.S., and many companies rely on door-to-door salespeople to sign new customers. While this approach may seem outdated, it allows representatives to offer personalized recommendations based on the layout of your home.

But not every salesperson who shows up at your door is offering a valuable service. Home security scams are rampant, and unscrupulous sales reps rely on shady or high pressure tactics to convince homeowners to purchase equipment or services that are unnecessary or overpriced.

Security Scam Red Flags

How can you tell if the person at your door is legit? Keep your eyes open for these home security scam warning signs.

  • The offer sounds too good to be true. Pitches like no long-term contract typically have conditions attached to them, like overpriced monthly payments.
  • The sales rep uses scare tactics or questionable recommendations. Be wary of any salesperson who claims your neighborhood is experiencing an increase in break-ins. They may also falsely claim your HOA president or Neighborhood Watch chair sent them.
  • The sales rep makes claims about your current system. Some reps may tell you your security system is out of date and they are there to upgrade it. Or they may claim your current monitoring service is out of business and the company they represent is taking over your account. Claims like these are designed to trick you into signing a new contract.

If the salesperson at your door attempts any of these tactics, avoid doing business with them. Some salespeople are overly persistent or aggressive. If any sales rep refuses to leave or tries to enter your home without your permission, contact the police.

Protecting Yourself From Scams

Many security salespeople are honest individuals who represent reputable companies. If you’re considering purchasing a system from a door-to-door sales rep, follow these guidelines.

  • Always ask for identification. Write down the sales rep’s name, company, and licensing number. If they don’t have that information or are hesitant to provide it, do not do business with them.
  • Do your research. Always research the company online. Check their Better Business Bureau rating and read online reviews. Steer clear of any company with poor reviews or no online presence at all.
  • Shop around. There are hundreds of home security systems and each one wants your business, so it pays to shop around. Use the SafeWise comparison tool to compare monitoring services, equipment, and prices to ensure you choose a system that fits your needs and offers a fair price.
  • Always read the fine print. If your sales rep promised certain perks or terms, make sure they are included in the contract. Ask questions if you don’t understand anything in the contract.
  • Don’t sign on the spot. Even if the sales pitch is convincing or the rep claims it’s a “limited time offer,” don’t sign up until you’ve done your research and are confident the company has the best service for your needs.
  • Know your rights. If you do sign a contract on impulse and then change your mind, or you feel the company wasn’t honest, you do have the right to cancel. According to the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule, which applies to all states, you have three business days to cancel any contract for any reason, even if the equipment has already been installed.

A security system can be a great investment that provides peace of mind and helps keep your home safe, but only when you sign up with a reliable, honest company. Knowing common security scam red flags and doing plenty of research will help you weed out the scams from the legitimate offers.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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