ADT Sales Scam Warnings – This Time It’s Burglars Pretending to be ADT

Posted by , , at 4:57 pm

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.

 

Comments (49)

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  1. Bill

    Front Point Security is a scam they are a private owned security company who goes in to customers home who have ADT security and say that they are going to upgrade there system but all they are doing is re using ADT equipment and trapping customers in a 5 year contract. Meanwhile they don’t tell the customer to cancel there ADT monitoring so the customer recieves two bills. Be aware of this security company they are not in every area yet due to them not having but 2 monitoring centers and being a privated owned security company who doesn’t have update security equipment. Be aware do not fall for the very shady sales tactics they tend to display towards there competitors mainly using ADT as there bait.

    Most security companies use Honey well security equipment (door sensors,window sensors, keypad and panel, motion sectors, etc) this is simply the manufacture of the equipment every company has a brand of security equipment they use. Honeywell is the most used and easiest for another company to come in a reuse there equipment with because of the compatibility.

    If you do decide to go with this company explains to your how your home is being monitored and how many montioring centers they have. Also if they are going to upgrade your system make sure they change out your entire system if they are going to “Upgrade” your security system. Thanks have a great day!!!

    • Katie Rynex

      Bill, you may have us confused with another company as our system is solely is DIY, to this point, we would never have a technician enter a customers home. Also, although Honeywell equipment is potentially compatible with our system, we sell and primarily interact with GE and Interlogix products. If you have any questions or concerns about our equipment please visit us at Frontpointsecurity.com where you can set-up aconsultation with one of our security experts who can answer all of your questions. Thank you for reaching out!

  2. James Lomax

    I had a caller call me and ask if we had a home security system and I told him real quick “Smith & Wesson” and that the other system we had was none of their business. We use ADT!

  3. Faith

    I work for ADT. I was just curious about what some customers may think when we call. I find it that people are very skeptical, and at times I can understand why, I am a sales rep with a name badge and an employee identification number (you can easily call into 1-800-238-2727 and verify the employee number with any rep and you will be notified if in fact this person is real or not. Or another way of trying to legitimatize this individual is when this person is inside the office calling you and if in fact you do have an alarm system (ADT generate different categories of customers for us to call. Such as some: nonpayments, upgrades, relocations, and new customers all together) this only applies to people with existing systems, one of the things I do is LITERALLY read out every device you have inside your home, there is no way anyone could get that information without working for ADT.

    Also another thing ADT does require us to use OUR own cell phone as where we are not always in the office and need to be on the go (that is why they provide a cellphone reimbursement plan) they just have us use a VOIP to track every call. Honestly, selling is not the hard part, it is the skeptical people, the only you have to do is get their employee identification number and verify them with the 1-800 ADT number and all of your problems and worries are solved, do not give every person who tries to help you a bad rep because of your previous experience. I just wanted to spread some knowledge so you folks are better informed.

    • Rita

      Thank you so much for posting and leaving a phone number to call to verify employee numbers because my mother was under the impression that two ADT employees were really offering upgrades and they even seemed legitimate to me as well. The only reason I suspected was because they repeatedly asked for SSN numbers, checking accounts, and how many people lived in our house. Thankfully I saw your post in time today, unfortunately they did happen to get the checking account information from a neighbor before us.

  4. roger

    Received a call saying my monitoring was expired on my adt system. I think it was possible burglar wanting 2 know if we were actually monitered. I tried to recall number and it was gone from system. Called adt and was told no call was made from them.

  5. Cherine

    I received a letter in the mail today with no ADT heading but it said in bold letter: Security System update notice. I was getting ready to toss the piece of mail when I decided to open it instead. The letter mentioned that our system needed upgrade and to call a number given. I called (not the given number but ADT main number) and i was told the letter was legit and my system needs to be updated. I am still nervous why was the piece of mail so generic?

  6. honey munched

    a adt person just came and knocked on our door he looked young and nice though I don’t know if it’s a scam or not he came in our house and told us we had a nice house he looked at our motion detectors and the fire alarms and said those had to be replaced once again I don’t know if it’s a scam or not bUT whatever it is I will not be sleeping and I do not feel safe anymore

  7. Anonymous

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.

  8. Heather

    I had a lady come to my door and say she was with ADT and said that my house came with an alarm which the realtor I used said it didn’t the next day they called to confirm my instalation and said the money would come out of my account with in 24-48 hours after installation I then told them I couldn’t afford that right now and she said I will write you a check for you to put in your account and you refund it to me in 2 weeks when you have it. I called the corporate ADT office and they said they are an authorized dealer through them but still seems strange to me.

  9. Connie Evans

    On Feb 25 after 8pm, it was raining hard. Your sales persons were in our subdivision banging excessively and prolonged on doors. They frightened people. Those that answered were told that others bought the system when they did not, some were told that your company is in charge of installing the security system for the entrance to our subdivision. You are not. Your folks are much too agressive. There is no excuse for frightening residents and certainly no excuse for lying to residents. Sheriff asked your folks to leave and they hid in a cul de sac until they were chased by residents. We do not want you back in our area. Shame on your for these kinds of sales tactics.

    • Valerie Saponara

      Wow, that sounds like a very upsetting experience and we’re sorry to hear that you had to go through that. Good thing about Frontpoint is that we do all of our sales over the phone and internet, no door-knockers here!

  10. Maggie

    You are never under any obligation to tell anyone anything or fill out papers or allow anyone inside. And you can ask people to leave and not come back. I’d have called police after telling them to wait while I go inside to get them that info. NEVER tell anyone anything.

  11. Nancy

    A young man came to my front door early this evening saying he was from Honeywell. He knew my name, which was a little unnerving. He had a name badge of some sort and carried an iPad or something similar that was in a thick, industrial-style case. He asked how old my system was and whether it had been updated. I told him I had not gotten any notices from ADT. He said he didn’t work for ADT, that he worked for Honeywell. I repeated my statement that I had not gotten any notices from ADT. He told me to have a nice day and left. The more I thought about it, the creepier it seemed, so I called the police to report the incident. Then I called ADT to report it.

  12. Mike

    ADT “scammer” called me to say my alarm system hasn’t been updated in 3 years. I don’t even have an ADT alarm system. I am on the do not call list. When asked where he got my phone number from he hung up. The phone number he called from is 1-614-372-6866

  13. Rebecca B

    I just had a call supposedly from ADT. They asked for my husband, which I said wasn’t home and asked if I could take a message. I could hear that it was a call center, from the background noise. They said they were from ADT and said that our ADT system was older than 3 years, at which time (yes stupidly) I said we didn’t have an alarm system. I realize now that with having my husband’s name, I did not register that this could be someone checking to see if we have an alarm system. I am sharing this so that, hopefully, I can help someone else be aware of this and NOT to say what I did.

    • Jamie Botzer

      Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca. I know that I too would probably give up a little more information than I’d really want, not suspecting that someone was calling to see if I had a home security system. It’s a nice reminder that we have to be extra cautious and alert at all times.

  14. Rebecca B

    I just had a call supposedly from ADT. They asked for my husband, which I said wasn’t home and asked if I could take a message. I could hear that it was a call center, from the background noise. They said they were from ADT and said that our ADT system was older than 3 years, at which time (yes stupidly) I said we didn’t have an alarm system. I realize now that with having my husband’s name, I did not register that this could be someone checking to see if we have an alarm system. I am sharing this so that, hopefully, I can help someone else be aware of this and NOT to say what I did.

    • Jamie Botzer

      Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca. I know that I too would probably give up a little more information than I’d really want, not suspecting that someone was calling to see if I had a home security system. It’s a nice reminder that we have to be extra cautious and alert at all times.

  15. Bill in Missouri

    We had 2 young women come to my house today in the Kansas city Mo area while I was using my chipper shredder in the driveway .They somehow knew my full name . I was waiting on a guy to show up with an item. Well they said something about ADT and did mention my old ADT sign. Then they mentioned about needing to see what box we had inside as there were different versions. I basically told them unless they had a Federal Government Security clearance Higher than mine there was no way they was getting into my house and that someone was home 24 hrs a day and my home security was monitored via a bird in the sky ..

  16. Martha Spurlock

    OMG! a few weeks ago some women came to my door selling ADT I let them in we were talking and they had called for heavy snow I thought they would leave they did not and I ended up filling out the papers with all my info. they were suppose to charge my card but I cancelled it as soon as they left. This is scary!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Martha – Sounds like you may have avoided a scam – or at the very least avoided getting an alarm system that did less than one you get from another alarm company (like FrontPoint) that does more, and costs less. Good for you, and thanks for sharing.

  17. Martha Spurlock

    OMG! a few weeks ago some women came to my door selling ADT I let them in we were talking and they had called for heavy snow I thought they would leave they did not and I ended up filling out the papers with all my info. they were suppose to charge my card but I cancelled it as soon as they left. This is scary!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Martha – Sounds like you may have avoided a scam – or at the very least avoided getting an alarm system that did less than one you get from another alarm company (like FrontPoint) that does more, and costs less. Good for you, and thanks for sharing.

  18. Frances A.

    I had an alarm salesman come to my door today, he was wearing a light gray polo and jeans and didn’t even really say what company he was working for, but that he sold Honeywell equipment. He started off by asking me if I knew “so and so” from down the street (he had a name written on a piece of paper) and I said no and immediately my mind started going into overdrive and I immediately regretted opening the door. I had a bad feeling. The next question he asked was about our ADT sign in the front yard and whether that was the system we had or if we just had the sign for show and I told him we do have a system. He then asked if we switched over from Brinks to ADT when the companies changed and also pretty much asked if I was the head of thr household. He then began to ramble about how some of the products are old and need upgrading in order to get rid of the “bugs” in the system and asked how long we’d had our security system. I told him we’d only had ours a few years and were interested in upgrading and he started asking things like “So I assume your system is the one where they call you over the phone?” And “I assume your system goes through your landline” all the while pointing to wires outside my house like he’d already scoped it out. Our system is actually wireless because we don’t have a landline phone and I told him we don’t and he tried to continue to press that the system ran through our phone line. By this point I was very suspicious and felt like I’d already given too much information (like an idiot) so I just started to say “We’re really not interested, our system works fine.” But he continued to try to show me pictures of the alarm panels he “assumed” we had (which we didn’t because we have GE and he showed me picture of Honeywell panels.) I told him no and at this point my patience was gone and I said “Look, I’m in the middle of studying for finals and I don’t have time to do this, I’m not interested, thanks anyway.” And I shut the door. I could hear him outside saying something to himself then I saw him walk over to my neighbors house. I’m absolutely petrified that I gave too much information and that he was actually a burglar scoping our house out. I’m really not sure what to do. Any advice will help. Thank you.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Frances – This is yet another great story that illustrates my point remarkably well. It’s certainly possible that this was a burglar scoping your house, but what is scary is that this person might actually have been a salesperson from one of those pushy alarm companies that try to steal other companies’ customers – called “poaching” in the alarm industry. The fact that he had pictures of alarm control panels say that this is not your average burglar, and the fact that he was aware that Brink’s was acquired by ADT is another indicator: perhaps this was a real alarm company employee, even if a sketchy one. You did the right thing getting him out of the house, and chances are you surrendered more than you needed to (or want to) in response to the prying questions.

      The sad thing is that there are plenty of dishonorable sale representatives, working for dishonorable companies, and that’s what you may have experienced. It’s a sad day when you need to be worried even about the people who work for alarm companies – what is this world coming to?

      Thanks for sharing your troy.

    • S. Lettman

      This is frightening. I’m glad I looked into the “ADT scam” and saw this article. This afternoon a young guy (mid twenties) knocked on my door and assured me he wasn’t trying to sell anything. All he wanted to know is if I was interested in a free home security system in exchange for having an ADT sign posted in my yard as advertisement for the company. He seemed very nice and asked about my kids and pets. He asked if I knew “Betsy” who “lives on the next street up” and that she just received the same offer. When he started asking about how many entry points I had to the house and what types of doors they were, I started to feel uncomfortable. When he asked to come in and “take a look” I declined and said I’d feel better if he came back another time.

      By that point I felt like I’d already given him too much information. I called ADT’s customer line as soon as he left and they said they didn’t know if any of their reps were in my area but that an official ADT sales representative would NEVER offer a system for free and that they would NOT need to enter the home under any circumstances.

      I’ve informed the authorities.

  19. Frances A.

    I had an alarm salesman come to my door today, he was wearing a light gray polo and jeans and didn’t even really say what company he was working for, but that he sold Honeywell equipment. He started off by asking me if I knew “so and so” from down the street (he had a name written on a piece of paper) and I said no and immediately my mind started going into overdrive and I immediately regretted opening the door. I had a bad feeling. The next question he asked was about our ADT sign in the front yard and whether that was the system we had or if we just had the sign for show and I told him we do have a system. He then asked if we switched over from Brinks to ADT when the companies changed and also pretty much asked if I was the head of thr household. He then began to ramble about how some of the products are old and need upgrading in order to get rid of the “bugs” in the system and asked how long we’d had our security system. I told him we’d only had ours a few years and were interested in upgrading and he started asking things like “So I assume your system is the one where they call you over the phone?” And “I assume your system goes through your landline” all the while pointing to wires outside my house like he’d already scoped it out. Our system is actually wireless because we don’t have a landline phone and I told him we don’t and he tried to continue to press that the system ran through our phone line. By this point I was very suspicious and felt like I’d already given too much information (like an idiot) so I just started to say “We’re really not interested, our system works fine.” But he continued to try to show me pictures of the alarm panels he “assumed” we had (which we didn’t because we have GE and he showed me picture of Honeywell panels.) I told him no and at this point my patience was gone and I said “Look, I’m in the middle of studying for finals and I don’t have time to do this, I’m not interested, thanks anyway.” And I shut the door. I could hear him outside saying something to himself then I saw him walk over to my neighbors house. I’m absolutely petrified that I gave too much information and that he was actually a burglar scoping our house out. I’m really not sure what to do. Any advice will help. Thank you.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Frances – This is yet another great story that illustrates my point remarkably well. It’s certainly possible that this was a burglar scoping your house, but what is scary is that this person might actually have been a salesperson from one of those pushy alarm companies that try to steal other companies’ customers – called “poaching” in the alarm industry. The fact that he had pictures of alarm control panels say that this is not your average burglar, and the fact that he was aware that Brink’s was acquired by ADT is another indicator: perhaps this was a real alarm company employee, even if a sketchy one. You did the right thing getting him out of the house, and chances are you surrendered more than you needed to (or want to) in response to the prying questions.

      The sad thing is that there are plenty of dishonorable sale representatives, working for dishonorable companies, and that’s what you may have experienced. It’s a sad day when you need to be worried even about the people who work for alarm companies – what is this world coming to?

      Thanks for sharing your troy.

  20. M. A. Hysell

    “Honeywell” salesman knocked on my mother-in-law’s door today. I am so happy that she called us to find out if we thought the man was a scammer. Unfortunately she let him into her home to do an “assessment.” By coincidence ADT had just updated her security system a couple of weeks ago. He actually sat down at her kitchen table called or pretended to call ADT and attempt to cancel her service. He identified himself to ADT as my mother-in-law’s son who had been out of town and was unhappy that she had signed a new contract. He told her that in order for him to call and cancel the account that he would need her security code. She gave it to him! She is not a stupid woman however she is an 85 years old widow who deal with decisions about important things like home security.
    The man told her he is coming back in the morning to install the new system. This is so worrisome. He took with him the billing and contract info that she had received from ADT. So now he has, who knows what information, on the paperwork he took and he knows she lives alone and has been all through her house and knows the best ways to get in and out of it. Part of “the nice young man’s” pitch included telling her that her “new” ADT system was in reality out of date and he did his best to undermine her confidence in ADT.
    When she called me I got on the ADT website and I was able to get some information from the on line chat. It took a little bit of back and forth for the chat person to figure out what I was referring to.
    She was very helpful and patient. However she did not seem to be aware the scam. I appreciate the time and info she shared.
    I told my mother-in-law to call the police and to be sure to have a friend come and stay with her when the scammer is due to come back to the house tomorrow.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks so much for sharing this cautionary tale – especially one the illustrates how vulnerable the elderly can be to this kind of approach. For what it’s worth, this sounds like like a classic door knocker story to me – right down to pretending to be from Honeywell (as an alarm equipment manufacturer, Honeywell never actually goes into people’s homes). The approach you describe is straight right out of the doorknocker playbook. I only wish more people were aware of what these companies do before it happens, but it’s tough to get the word out everywhere. Happily there are lots of folks who are clued in, and who are making life tougher for these3 scam artists: the BBB (Better Business Bureau), the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Attorneys General and District Attorneys across the US, and a long list of government consumer protection agencies at the state and local level.

      You were smart to call ADT, and I am glad they made you feel better – but find it hard to believe they are not aware of this scam. If anyone should be onto these bad actors, it should be ADT. And you did the right thing to instruct your mother-in-law to call the police, and to get company to be with her the next day. The only additional thing I would suggest is getting some ID from the person (always a good step to take) – so that the company can be reported to the authorities for preying on homeowners in this manner – especially the elderly. Frankly, I really see red when this happens – there is just no excuse for trying to sell in this manner, which is called “poaching” in the alarm industry. Thanks again, and I hope this story has a happy ending.

  21. M. A. Hysell

    “Honeywell” salesman knocked on my mother-in-law’s door today. I am so happy that she called us to find out if we thought the man was a scammer. Unfortunately she let him into her home to do an “assessment.” By coincidence ADT had just updated her security system a couple of weeks ago. He actually sat down at her kitchen table called or pretended to call ADT and attempt to cancel her service. He identified himself to ADT as my mother-in-law’s son who had been out of town and was unhappy that she had signed a new contract. He told her that in order for him to call and cancel the account that he would need her security code. She gave it to him! She is not a stupid woman however she is an 85 years old widow who deal with decisions about important things like home security.
    The man told her he is coming back in the morning to install the new system. This is so worrisome. He took with him the billing and contract info that she had received from ADT. So now he has, who knows what information, on the paperwork he took and he knows she lives alone and has been all through her house and knows the best ways to get in and out of it. Part of “the nice young man’s” pitch included telling her that her “new” ADT system was in reality out of date and he did his best to undermine her confidence in ADT.
    When she called me I got on the ADT website and I was able to get some information from the on line chat. It took a little bit of back and forth for the chat person to figure out what I was referring to.
    She was very helpful and patient. However she did not seem to be aware the scam. I appreciate the time and info she shared.
    I told my mother-in-law to call the police and to be sure to have a friend come and stay with her when the scammer is due to come back to the house tomorrow.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks so much for sharing this cautionary tale – especially one the illustrates how vulnerable the elderly can be to this kind of approach. For what it’s worth, this sounds like like a classic door knocker story to me – right down to pretending to be from Honeywell (as an alarm equipment manufacturer, Honeywell never actually goes into people’s homes). The approach you describe is straight right out of the doorknocker playbook. I only wish more people were aware of what these companies do before it happens, but it’s tough to get the word out everywhere. Happily there are lots of folks who are clued in, and who are making life tougher for these3 scam artists: the BBB (Better Business Bureau), the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Attorneys General and District Attorneys across the US, and a long list of government consumer protection agencies at the state and local level.

      You were smart to call ADT, and I am glad they made you feel better – but find it hard to believe they are not aware of this scam. If anyone should be onto these bad actors, it should be ADT. And you did the right thing to instruct your mother-in-law to call the police, and to get company to be with her the next day. The only additional thing I would suggest is getting some ID from the person (always a good step to take) – so that the company can be reported to the authorities for preying on homeowners in this manner – especially the elderly. Frankly, I really see red when this happens – there is just no excuse for trying to sell in this manner, which is called “poaching” in the alarm industry. Thanks again, and I hope this story has a happy ending.

  22. Can

    Two days ago this 20 something year old male came to the door wearing a “VAULT” badge on his shirt and holding some sort of electronic device. He claimed to be with the “VAULT” company and even said “You can look it up on the internet”…Errrrr okay, he then claimed that he saw our security sign in our yard and wanted to know if we were still in contract, if not he was willing to give us a free “VAULT” system so long as we’d display their “VAULT” sign in our yard bc ,”It’s such a great location with constant traffic and the sign would have lots of visibility, it’d be great for business”. He then asked if I was the home owner, I said yes…mistake, probably. He then asked if I knew Mrs.SomethingorAnother down the street, I said no….(thinking back he probably just made her up, who knows all of the people in their neighborhood anyway?) He said she’d been having problems with kids vandalizing…funny bc we haven’t heard or seen any problems, if there were they would have been mentioned on the police’s online report and/or neighborhood newspaper. He then asked about one of our neighbors, I said they keep to themselves and I don’t like to bother people…probably another mistake as this informed “Mr. VAULT” that that particular neighbor and my family don’t really communicate so robbing either of us should be a breeze….sneeky bastard!) He said he’d need to come in to check out the current system and that their system was superior to mine bc it worked off of satellite rather than land line or something to that effect. He also said that he’d need to run a background check and get some more of my & my husband’s information. I told him I wasn’t even sure if this was something that we’d want to do but that I’d speak with my husband about it, he’s upstairs sleeping bc he isn’t feeling well…which was actually the truth not a ploy to get “Mr. VAULT” to leave. I actually didn’t think that he wasn’t legitimate until my son broke it down for me and pointed out all of the obvious signs that just passed me by.
    FLAG 1: “You can look it up on the internet”… why so defensive?
    FLAG 2: If you see a home security sign in someone’s yard why bother propositioning the residents with your product?
    FLAG 3: “You don’t get something for nothing”… he offered the alleged product indefinitely FREE of charge so long as their “VAULT” sign was positioned in our front yard.
    Etc.
    Now I’m wondering if I should call the police? I don’t know if he was legit or not. This is the website http://www.vaultsecuritysystems.com/about.html. HELP PLEASE!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Can – I went to the Vault website, and it looks like an alarm company that specializes in commercial systems – especially alarm systems for banks. While it’s possible that Vault is expanding into home alarms, I am extremely suspicious of the person who came to your door, especially based on the questions they asked. I will admit that the general approach you describe is actually par for the course from many of the door knockers: pushy, overly presumptuous about the things they ask, and not exactly consultative when it comes to meeting your security needs. I think it makes sense to let the police know about your experience – they generally like to know when these folks are operating in a jurisdiction, and will often keep an eye on them, even if they are real alarm sales people, since many of them do not carry the required licenses and ID that is required by many cities, counties, and towns. Thanks for your comment – it’s a helpful and cautionary tale for others who may experience the same or a similar approach by someone who may – or may not – be legit.

  23. Can

    Two days ago this 20 something year old male came to the door wearing a “VAULT” badge on his shirt and holding some sort of electronic device. He claimed to be with the “VAULT” company and even said “You can look it up on the internet”…Errrrr okay, he then claimed that he saw our security sign in our yard and wanted to know if we were still in contract, if not he was willing to give us a free “VAULT” system so long as we’d display their “VAULT” sign in our yard bc ,”It’s such a great location with constant traffic and the sign would have lots of visibility, it’d be great for business”. He then asked if I was the home owner, I said yes…mistake, probably. He then asked if I knew Mrs.SomethingorAnother down the street, I said no….(thinking back he probably just made her up, who knows all of the people in their neighborhood anyway?) He said she’d been having problems with kids vandalizing…funny bc we haven’t heard or seen any problems, if there were they would have been mentioned on the police’s online report and/or neighborhood newspaper. He then asked about one of our neighbors, I said they keep to themselves and I don’t like to bother people…probably another mistake as this informed “Mr. VAULT” that that particular neighbor and my family don’t really communicate so robbing either of us should be a breeze….sneeky bastard!) He said he’d need to come in to check out the current system and that their system was superior to mine bc it worked off of satellite rather than land line or something to that effect. He also said that he’d need to run a background check and get some more of my & my husband’s information. I told him I wasn’t even sure if this was something that we’d want to do but that I’d speak with my husband about it, he’s upstairs sleeping bc he isn’t feeling well…which was actually the truth not a ploy to get “Mr. VAULT” to leave. I actually didn’t think that he wasn’t legitimate until my son broke it down for me and pointed out all of the obvious signs that just passed me by.
    FLAG 1: “You can look it up on the internet”… why so defensive?
    FLAG 2: If you see a home security sign in someone’s yard why bother propositioning the residents with your product?
    FLAG 3: “You don’t get something for nothing”… he offered the alleged product indefinitely FREE of charge so long as their “VAULT” sign was positioned in our front yard.
    Etc.
    Now I’m wondering if I should call the police? I don’t know if he was legit or not. This is the website http://www.vaultsecuritysystems.com/about.html. HELP PLEASE!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Can – I went to the Vault website, and it looks like an alarm company that specializes in commercial systems – especially alarm systems for banks. While it’s possible that Vault is expanding into home alarms, I am extremely suspicious of the person who came to your door, especially based on the questions they asked. I will admit that the general approach you describe is actually par for the course from many of the door knockers: pushy, overly presumptuous about the things they ask, and not exactly consultative when it comes to meeting your security needs. I think it makes sense to let the police know about your experience – they generally like to know when these folks are operating in a jurisdiction, and will often keep an eye on them, even if they are real alarm sales people, since many of them do not carry the required licenses and ID that is required by many cities, counties, and towns. Thanks for your comment – it’s a helpful and cautionary tale for others who may experience the same or a similar approach by someone who may – or may not – be legit.

  24. Sean

    Peter, let me first start by saying that I am an ADT company sales person, and I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read about the security industry in a long time.

    For those who read it, your words teach the uninformed to be more aware. I never let an uninvited person that I don’t know into my house, period. Wouldn’t matter to me if they said they were from the federal government. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or in an urban area more prone to crime, once someone gains access to your dwelling, the amount of information that can be gained by that person is enormous. Apparent valuables, access points, possible times of vulnerability through viewing hanging calendars, etc., are all there for the would be crook to take in. Certainly carrying the ADT badge, business cards, and ADT moniker-ed IPad add a level of legitimacy to who I am when I’m out, but those items are all easily duplicated.

    Frankly, not all ADT reps make enough to prevent them from participating in crime either. Its a commission only job, and in any given month probably only 15-25% of us are operating at or above goal. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of internal company scams involving reps and immoral actions toward consumers. Good people are hard to find to begin with even if you do pay them well, if you don’t pay them well, the level of talent and moral integrity drops. Such is the case here.

    Door knocking is a horrible way to sell something. There’s no doubt about it, the best way to initiate a sale in a potential consumer/company relationship is to have the consumer pick up the phone and CALL YOU. Unfortunately, ADT, as you point out, does not believe in that mantra AT ALL. What’s worse, nobody in the upper echelons of management has actually really studied how to make this phenomenon (customer picking up the phone and calling for service) happen, or equipped the sales force with the tools to make it happen. Door knocking and the old “dial for dollars” way of doing things is all they know and it will never change and never has changed.

    You mention in your article that “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.” That is a bold faced lie. We are asked to make calls and inquiries like that every day. I always ask if there are pets roaming the house, and if so, what size? Large pets set of motion detectors. The representative was trying to cover up for what I would describe as a untoward sales practices that are actually endorsed and forced upon sales people like me. The free system installation, although not on the price sheet, is offered quite regularly should a given district struggle to meet its numbers.

    In summary, your commentary on how ADT sells product and services is spot on. I personally don’t feel its right either, and as such, I try to exercise a level of judiciousness in how, when, or even IF I follow suit with standard company practices.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sean – many people feel that there is nothing more powerful than an honest customer review. I am normally inclined to agree, with one exception: an employee coming forward with a clear and compelling story of how things really work inside a company. I thank you for this constructive and insightful response to my post. While I’d like to say that I am surprised by what you have to share, I’m not… having been in the alarm industry for over twenty years, I have seen too much of what actually happens to believe all the propaganda.

      As for allowing people in your home, I just read another article this morning about an elderly woman who let in someone claiming to be from the water company, and he turned out to be a burglar who stole a lot from her. And it keeps happening. The stories of someone pretending to be from the alarm company (ADT or any other company) are particularly ironic, since these bad guys are playing off the homeowners’ valid fears in the first place.

      The best companies (and I don’t mean just alarm companies) pay their employees enough so that stealing should not be necessary. And background checks on employees are also important: the #2 door knocking alarm company, Pinnacle, was just fined $1 million for a variety of licensing violations, including failing to register 700 of their 1,100 in-home Illinois sales people – some of whom turned out to be convicted felons, as alleged by the State of Illinois. Truly frightening! We totally agree with you on door knocking as the worst way to sell alarm services – and if you look at the high levels of consumer complaints and government actions, in combination with high customer cancellation rates, it’s easy to conclude that door knocking may in fact be a sales method whose days are numbered. We hope so.

      Thanks again for your great response, and best wishes to you.

  25. Sean

    Peter, let me first start by saying that I am an ADT company sales person, and I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read about the security industry in a long time.

    For those who read it, your words teach the uninformed to be more aware. I never let an uninvited person that I don’t know into my house, period. Wouldn’t matter to me if they said they were from the federal government. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or in an urban area more prone to crime, once someone gains access to your dwelling, the amount of information that can be gained by that person is enormous. Apparent valuables, access points, possible times of vulnerability through viewing hanging calendars, etc., are all there for the would be crook to take in. Certainly carrying the ADT badge, business cards, and ADT moniker-ed IPad add a level of legitimacy to who I am when I’m out, but those items are all easily duplicated.

    Frankly, not all ADT reps make enough to prevent them from participating in crime either. Its a commission only job, and in any given month probably only 15-25% of us are operating at or above goal. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of internal company scams involving reps and immoral actions toward consumers. Good people are hard to find to begin with even if you do pay them well, if you don’t pay them well, the level of talent and moral integrity drops. Such is the case here.

    Door knocking is a horrible way to sell something. There’s no doubt about it, the best way to initiate a sale in a potential consumer/company relationship is to have the consumer pick up the phone and CALL YOU. Unfortunately, ADT, as you point out, does not believe in that mantra AT ALL. What’s worse, nobody in the upper echelons of management has actually really studied how to make this phenomenon (customer picking up the phone and calling for service) happen, or equipped the sales force with the tools to make it happen. Door knocking and the old “dial for dollars” way of doing things is all they know and it will never change and never has changed.

    You mention in your article that “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.” That is a bold faced lie. We are asked to make calls and inquiries like that every day. I always ask if there are pets roaming the house, and if so, what size? Large pets set of motion detectors. The representative was trying to cover up for what I would describe as a untoward sales practices that are actually endorsed and forced upon sales people like me. The free system installation, although not on the price sheet, is offered quite regularly should a given district struggle to meet its numbers.

    In summary, your commentary on how ADT sells product and services is spot on. I personally don’t feel its right either, and as such, I try to exercise a level of judiciousness in how, when, or even IF I follow suit with standard company practices.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Sean – many people feel that there is nothing more powerful than an honest customer review. I am normally inclined to agree, with one exception: an employee coming forward with a clear and compelling story of how things really work inside a company. I thank you for this constructive and insightful response to my post. While I’d like to say that I am surprised by what you have to share, I’m not… having been in the alarm industry for over twenty years, I have seen too much of what actually happens to believe all the propaganda.

      As for allowing people in your home, I just read another article this morning about an elderly woman who let in someone claiming to be from the water company, and he turned out to be a burglar who stole a lot from her. And it keeps happening. The stories of someone pretending to be from the alarm company (ADT or any other company) are particularly ironic, since these bad guys are playing off the homeowners’ valid fears in the first place.

      The best companies (and I don’t mean just alarm companies) pay their employees enough so that stealing should not be necessary. And background checks on employees are also important: the #2 door knocking alarm company, Pinnacle, was just fined $1 million for a variety of licensing violations, including failing to register 700 of their 1,100 in-home Illinois sales people – some of whom turned out to be convicted felons, as alleged by the State of Illinois. Truly frightening! We totally agree with you on door knocking as the worst way to sell alarm services – and if you look at the high levels of consumer complaints and government actions, in combination with high customer cancellation rates, it’s easy to conclude that door knocking may in fact be a sales method whose days are numbered. We hope so.

      Thanks again for your great response, and best wishes to you.

  26. Jay

    I work for the only local authorized ADT dealer in my area. There’s us, and there’s the Corporate office. The amount of people that are concerned about fraud is “alarming”, there isn’t many. Mind you, I show my ID badge every door I go to and I had the police called on me on the very first day of work. How these frauds are learning the tricks of us legitimate sales reps is beyond me, but it’s scarey that I read these articles and pictured myself and what I do on a daily basis. We had a woman not buy from us because she had door knockers come to her door from “ADT” and look around, two weeks later she was broken into. So when we showed up she was very hesitant about buying and asked us to leave, she later called our office to confirm we were legit.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jay – Thanks for sharing here. It’s true that you are fighting two trends. In the first place, there are actually bad people pretending to be good people, meaning criminals posing as alarm salespeople or alarm technicians, and they are casing homes with greater frequency than ever before. Are they making it harder for you? Absolutely, and it’s no fault of yours. The second unfortunate trend is the door knocking alarm approach that is very aggressive, and that resorts to fraudulent and deceptive practices when normal pressure does not work. I am actually more concerned about this second problem, because these people knock on millions of doors each summer, and they are giving the alarm industry a bad name when their ethics are lax. It’s not every company, or every sales person, but it happens so much that some of these companies can’t do business in certain jurisdictions. Just check out the BBB to see the fines and lawsuits. Sorry to hear it’s made your life harder – best luck to you.

  27. Jay

    I work for the only local authorized ADT dealer in my area. There’s us, and there’s the Corporate office. The amount of people that are concerned about fraud is “alarming”, there isn’t many. Mind you, I show my ID badge every door I go to and I had the police called on me on the very first day of work. How these frauds are learning the tricks of us legitimate sales reps is beyond me, but it’s scarey that I read these articles and pictured myself and what I do on a daily basis. We had a woman not buy from us because she had door knockers come to her door from “ADT” and look around, two weeks later she was broken into. So when we showed up she was very hesitant about buying and asked us to leave, she later called our office to confirm we were legit.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Jay – Thanks for sharing here. It’s true that you are fighting two trends. In the first place, there are actually bad people pretending to be good people, meaning criminals posing as alarm salespeople or alarm technicians, and they are casing homes with greater frequency than ever before. Are they making it harder for you? Absolutely, and it’s no fault of yours. The second unfortunate trend is the door knocking alarm approach that is very aggressive, and that resorts to fraudulent and deceptive practices when normal pressure does not work. I am actually more concerned about this second problem, because these people knock on millions of doors each summer, and they are giving the alarm industry a bad name when their ethics are lax. It’s not every company, or every sales person, but it happens so much that some of these companies can’t do business in certain jurisdictions. Just check out the BBB to see the fines and lawsuits. Sorry to hear it’s made your life harder – best luck to you.

  28. Clarice

    We had a “gentleman” come to the door last week telling us that he worked for the company that manufactured home security systems for ADT and that he needed to check to see if the box had been upgraded so he could schedule service. Might have been pretty convincing if we hadn’t had the system installed in the last 60 days.

    Also, got a phone call this morning saying it was ADT customer service and that our service was scheduled to be disconnected. They would be happy to transfer me to their billing deparment to verify our credit card information. Since the caller ID said “Cell Phone FL” and not “ADT”, I hung up and called ADT directly. Our account is fine and no one there called us.

    Watch out for scammers…they’re everywhere! Just use common sense!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Clarice, for your comment. Sounds like you had some “up close and personal” experience with exactly the kind of scams I’ve been warning people about. Your real life stories make the point very well – nothing like first-hand exposure. Good thing you were smarter than they were, since many people get sucked in, and then it can get very bad very quickly.

      Most ADT systems use Honeywell equipment – and Honeywell will NEVER send someone to your home.

      Well done, and thanks again.

  29. Clarice

    We had a “gentleman” come to the door last week telling us that he worked for the company that manufactured home security systems for ADT and that he needed to check to see if the box had been upgraded so he could schedule service. Might have been pretty convincing if we hadn’t had the system installed in the last 60 days.

    Also, got a phone call this morning saying it was ADT customer service and that our service was scheduled to be disconnected. They would be happy to transfer me to their billing deparment to verify our credit card information. Since the caller ID said “Cell Phone FL” and not “ADT”, I hung up and called ADT directly. Our account is fine and no one there called us.

    Watch out for scammers…they’re everywhere! Just use common sense!

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Clarice, for your comment. Sounds like you had some “up close and personal” experience with exactly the kind of scams I’ve been warning people about. Your real life stories make the point very well – nothing like first-hand exposure. Good thing you were smarter than they were, since many people get sucked in, and then it can get very bad very quickly.

      Most ADT systems use Honeywell equipment – and Honeywell will NEVER send someone to your home.

      Well done, and thanks again.

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