A common security system scam involves door-to-door salespeople offering a free system or equipment. Once the homeowner signs the paperwork, the salesperson reveals hidden fees or other problems. The customer usually cannot cancel the deal without incurring a heavy penalty fee.
Salespeople sometimes target people who have existing systems, claiming to work for the same company. These scammers may offer a free upgrade or other service, only to install a new system and charge the homeowner for it. Some scammers are open about working for a different company, but they claim that they are now handling service for the original company or that the original company is no longer in business.
A more sinister scam involves someone claiming to be a technician for the company and getting access to the system. The scammer then disables or otherwise interferes with the system, and then comes back later to steal from the home. Other thieves use a more simple ruse and simply take a deposit for a new security system and then never follow through.
Homeowners can protect themselves against security scams by checking the credentials of any door-to-door salespeople before buying. If the person claims to represent a company the homeowner already works with, the homeowner should call the company to confirm. People also have the right to cancel contracts without penalty within three days of signing if the sale occurred in the person's home.