Door-to-Door and Online Scammers—Make Sure Your Customers Stay Safe
Don’t let your subscribers get duped into changing providers
It’s a fickle and unpredictable world we live in today. Staying safe and secure is important to NMC’s dealers and their customers – and that extends above and beyond providing the most professional central monitoring and dispatch services.
With summer comes what the security industry refers to as door-to-door alarm sales or summer door knockers – companies who visit your clients and try to get them to switch services to a new provider. Summer door knockers are generally companies from other regions and even other states who descend upon neighborhoods en masse. While these types of sales campaigns can be done ethically and professionally, some take advantage of consumers with fraudulent and deceptive sales tactics that start at the front door.
Sometimes these companies masquerade as representatives from your company, telling them their alarm is outdated or will become inoperative if they don’t make changes to the system or monitoring service. Others may stoop so low as to say your company has gone out of business and they are the new provider. In one reported example, a door knocker said the customer’s yard sign was outdated and potential burglars could use info on the back of the sign to defeat the alarm system and gain entry. Some promise extra security protection at escalated costs – for what’s really traditional monitoring.
In addition to these face-to-face interactions, there are online scams in which fraudulent companies contact subscribers via email with misleading and inaccurate information. They may say that their alarm system is no longer functioning properly or again, use the ruse that the company or monitoring provider has gone out of business and they will be left unprotected in the event of a burglary or fire emergency.
The professional security industry is taking steps to protect consumers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) held a press conference in California earlier this year sponsored by The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the Electronic Security Association to share information about this widespread problem. NMC is a member of TMA, holding the Five-Diamond Certification for elite professional monitoring services.
One of the victims at the media conference relayed a scam in which she was conned into switching providers, and as a result now has a longer contract with a significantly higher monthly monitoring rate.
Here are four simple steps to up end fraudulent solicitors who come knocking:
1. Tell your customers to ask for photo identification and/or a business card as well as a permit for door-to-door sales, often required by local municipalities.
2. Make sure they have your number handy and they call immediately, never letting anyone into their home without verifying first.
3. Ensure customers don’t sign any contract without contacting you.
4. Have them request literature so you can evaluate it for potential follow up with the BBB, the city to check for licenses, or even police authorities if necessary.
In addition, the BBB has information available for consumers who are considering a home security system (bbb.org/homesecurity), and also released advice to potential employees who are being recruited to spend their summers knocking on doors (bbb.org/alarmsales).
Educating subscribers on the latest activity in the market and bogus sales tactics will make you a hero in their eyes and help you keep your customers for life.