It is summer time and with that comes vacation time for the whole family. Whether you are staying home or vacationing elsewhere, there are things you need to know about taking summer vacation and being safe at the same time. If you are staying home and doing a staycation on the weekends because you have to work during the week, Consumer Reports says you need to be aware of home security. If you already have a system, that’s good. However, there are things you need to be aware of in case of home security scammers. There are so many scams out there and you need to know how to tell if you are getting scammed either by someone claiming to be someone who works for the home security system that you already have or by someone claiming to be a competitor. Why do they do this? Consumer Reports says they do this to stake out your house so they can easily break in later on. Here are some things to watch out for, especially if you have a home security system sign in your yard that is supposed to be deterring would-be burglars from trying to break-in.
A scammer may see the sign in your yard and may come to your door to tell you that there has been a glitch in your home security system and that they have been sent by your home security system company to fix it for you. This is only to get in your house and mess with your security system so they can break in later while you are away.
A scammer may claim that they are a sales agent for your home security system and they will claim that it is time to upgrade. This is to get you to sign a new contract that you might not be able to get out of for a very long time or without paying a penalty.
A scammer may claim that your original home security company has gone out of business and that they have taken over. This is to get you to buy new equipment at a higher price and sign a new long-term contract that you, again, can’t get out of without paying a penalty.
There are also scammers who say that you need to pay a security deposit for your home security system and then you never see or hear from them again. They take off with your money and leave no trace that they were ever there.
You definitely need to watch out for yourself whether you have an existing home security system or are planning on purchasing one soon. When going on vacation, you want peace of mind. You don’t want to constantly worry that your house may be getting broken into while you are away.
Legitimate home security system companies won’t send a repairman to your home without first contacting you. Legitimate companies also won’t go out of business without, at the very least, sending you a letter in the mail.
If you want to ensure you are safe for the summer while away on vacation or even while at work during the day, here are some things you can do to ensure you are not getting ripped off by a home security system company.
Get references. Ask the salesman for the home security system company for references. Any legitimate agent will have names of previous customers and they should already be in your neighborhood. You can then contact them to ask them about how good the equipment is and how good the company is.
Get everything in writing. Make sure to get everything you are getting installed in writing. This includes all information about the equipment, the price, who will be maintaining the home security system for you, and more. If they can’t provide it in writing, walk away and find another company.
Do a background check on them. Demand the name of the sales agent as well as their license number and any other piece of information you can get from them. Look all of this information up by doing a background check on them. Better to be safe now than sorry later on.
Reread the contract. Read everything to make sure you know what you are agreeing to. Make sure to also read the fine print. They often put things in the fine print not expecting you to read that part. Make sure you do.
If you find that you have regrets about the home security system company that you chose, you have three days to change your mind. According to the FTC you can even change your mind if you already have everything installed as long as it is within these three days. It is called the cooling off rule. This means that if you buy something from within your own home or someplace that is not the sellers permanent place of business, you have three days to change your mind about it. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. The purchase has to be more than $25 and you have until midnight of the third business day to cancel the purchase.
A tip from the CEO of My Alarm Center: “Always make sure you make it look like you are home when trying to keep would-be burglars away. As long as they think you are home, they won’t even think about breaking in.”
Keeping these in consideration will ensure you have a safe and happy summer and all-year-round. No one wants to come home from vacation only to find that their house has been robbed and their precious items have been stolen. Keep all of this in mind before going on vacation and before installing your next home security system. You want a peaceful vacation, not one full of worry.
Also, reconsider keeping that sign in your yard because it could be tempting would-be burglars to try to scam you any way they can. Remember, there are more ways than just those listed above to be scammed. Be wary of anyone that approaches your house from a company without first calling to notify you. Never make any decision about your security system without first confirming the identity of the individual you are speaking with.