In previous posts I’ve addressed the overly aggressive sales tactics used by some of ADT’s authorized dealers. Honestly, some of these in-home sales people can be just as bad as the home security door knockers that are hurting the alarm industry’s reputation. But now there is a new threat: burglars posing as alarm sales representatives to case your home either by phone or in person. I have three reports to share that illustrate just how bad this situation has gotten – and it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. That’s why the safest conversation you can have with an alarm company is the one you initiate. The first story comes from Hannibal, Missouri.
A woman is crediting her Bullmastiff dog, Gage, with preventing a break-in at her Hannibal home. The woman said the dog began “barking, growling and sniffing at the door” around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. The woman realized someone was trying to break into her house later Tuesday morning when she noticed the screen had been removed from her front window. “There was somebody out there – I just didn’t realize it at the time. If not for my dog, they probably would have gotten in,” she said.
Why She Points to the Phone Caller
The woman suspects the break-in attempt stems from a phone call she received about two weeks ago. A person identifying himself as a representative of ADT Security Services called offering to install a system for free if an ADT sign could be placed in her yard. The man asked for some general information as he claimed to be running a credit check. “All they wanted was my name and address, and like a dummy I gave it to him,” she said, adding he also inquired as to how many people lived at the residence, if there was a security system already in place and if she had pets.
A representative of ADT told the woman Tuesday that the company would not be making phone inquiries such as the one she received, nor would it install a system at no charge. The attempted break-in and apparent scam were reported to the Hannibal police.
The good news: it was not ADT. The bad news: it’s easy for burglars to pretend they are representing a large company that advertises heavily, and has been known to market aggressively – like ADT!
Scam Report from Moore County, North Carolina
The Moore County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible scam in the Moore County area involving several subjects driving a blue 2005 Chrysler van. According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, the people in the van are going door-to-door identifying themselves as employees of Securewatch, a subcontractor of ADT. They are asking to put an ADT sign in homeowners’ yards, and claiming that they will install an alarm system. They are using a written agreement to apparently gain personal information from homeowners. It appears to be a scam, according to the press release, because the subjects don’t have identification showing that they are employed by Securewatch. When Securewatch is researched by computer, several sites come up in reference to scam issues.
Here the case is clouded by the fact that the company in question is an ADT authorized dealer that does sell door-to-door. Many of these dealers do just that, and they can be pushy – but they should all have proper identification. I smell a rat here, and it’s not Securewatch.
Police Alert Residents in Sierra Vista, Arizona
Police are warning citizens to be aware of a new scam in which people claiming to be with security companies attempt to enter into homes. Police have received “many, many calls” in the last week from area residents who say that people have been knocking on their front doors claiming to be employees of ADT/Honeywell, said Tracy Grady, public information officer for the Sierra Vista Police Department. “They ask to get into the residence because ‘they need to upgrade their system,’ ” she said.
The real question is, how is a homeowner to know if the person at the door is a potential burglar or not? If they are selling some other product (vacuums, encyclopedias, etc.), it’s not as important: they won’t be asking about your pets, if you have an alarm system, and when you are home. When these burglars pretend to be alarm sales people, they can extract valuable information that makes it easier to break in when they come back. This is a real security risk, and I’m glad police are taking it seriously.
FrontPoint is happily removed from the door knocker and dealer scene, as a truly “next-generation” service provider. ADT and its dealers are primarily “old school,” focusing on traditional, less reliable security. In fact, ADT has not considered safer cellular monitoring a priority, and smarter interactive monitoring like that already offered by FrontPoint (including video, home automation, and mobile apps) is a newer service for ADT. While FrontPoint has been providing these smarter alarm features for four years, ADT only recently announced the full launch of its new Pulse product offering, and the jury is still out on how well they will support it (here is an update on pricing and other aspects of Pulse, since you can’t find much on ADT’s web site!).
Stay tuned here more news from the alarm industry – and please let us know if there are topics you want to cover. We aim to be topical, timely, and informative. Part of being the leader in wireless home security and being ranked as the #1 ranked alarm company is the US comes from knowing the competition – and staying several steps ahead.