Summertime can mean more door-to-door salespeople visiting your home or neighborhood. Warmer weather can also present more opportunities for potential thieves looking for easy entry into your home. Either way, you can use these five, simple steps to protect your property and family from door-to-door scams or break-ins.
For over 40 years, we've been designing and installing custom security systems for homes and businesses across the USA. Contact us today to learn how easy and affordable it is to secure your family, and property.
Increase Summertime Safety Using Front Door Security and Home Video Surveillance
A strong first step to protecting your bank accounts and home is to be aware of potential dangers and prepared for when someone uninvited rings your doorbell or knocks on your door. Follow these front door security tips and be sure to share them with all family members, including elderly parents who live alone:
- Don't open the door to just anyone – Always look out first to see who is knocking. Don't open the door at all if you don't have a secondary door or security barrier between you and the person. Don't rely solely on a door chain unless you've beefed up its mounting with long screws.
- Don't feel like you have to open the door at all – However, it's a good idea to let the person know someone is home. Have a loud conversation with another family member that can be overheard. Ask the person to leave information at the door. Instruct young children to never open the door when someone visits. Only an adult should do that.
- Ask for identification –Use a peephole, intercom, doorbell camera, or security app on your smartphone to identify who's at your door, and ask him to leave an ID or business card. If the person claims to be from a company you do business with, call that company to see if it sent a representative. It's OK to make them wait or to ask them to return once you've received verification from your service provider.
- Never indicate you are alone or no one is home – Reference others being home but occupied with an activity (e.g., We can't open the door right now. Please leave a business card….). Remember that the person could be casing your place for a future break in. Never share a schedule for when you're home or away, and review your answering machine message to make sure it does not imply you are out of town or live alone.
- Make your home appear occupied. Consider home automation, interactive security, or energy management services, like Alert 360, to control your video doorbell, video surveillance, lighting, appliances, sound systems – using an app on your smartphone or Apple Watch. Our newest doorbell camera, for example, alerts you to visitors and lets you speak to them no matter where you are, letting them know you can see them.
On a special note, from our own home security customers' experiences: When your property is protected by a security system, some door-to-door scammers might target your home in order to gain access to your system or alarm monitoring contract details. Be wary of someone claiming to represent your alarm monitoring company and asking you to sign a new contract. They might state that your company has been sold and is no longer in business or they need to upgrade your equipment and need you to sign a new contract. This is a common scam but can easily be avoided with these tips.
Want more safety tips for family members who might stay home alone? Check out our previous blog, Stay Safe When a Stranger Knocks.
The Benefits of Having a Home Security System to Keep an Eye on Property, Family
The good news is a security or smart home system that includes video monitoring, a doorbell camera, outdoor security cameras and other convenient remote monitoring options can help you keep an eye on your home from almost anywhere and even speak to anyone who drops by. For Central Security Group customers, our Alert 360® smart home solutions or Alert 360® video, with a free mobile app, are extremely popular and handy for both when you're home and when you're out and about or traveling.
Protect Yourself from Door-to-Door Fraud and Know These Common Scam Tactics
Not everyone who visits is a bad guy or is trying to scam you into paying for services you might not receive. It's good to know when to suspect suspicious activity or someone attempting to obtain your bank account information, signature on a contract, or access to your security system and home.
From experience working with our customers, we've gathered the most common used phrases, false statements, or tactics scammers use and advise you to be wary of anyone who:
- Tells you that we are no longer in business, no longer serve your area, or were sold to their company.
- Asks you to sign a new contract to ensure your security continues.
- Asks for access to your system or say it has been recalled and requires replacement or upgrading that day.
- Shows you documents to support claims they need access to your system.
- Uses high-pressure tactics to force you to make a decision on the spot and won't allow you to check all the details before signing a contract.
- Appears for a service call without scheduling an appointment in advance.
- Refuses to provide a business card or company contact information.
In Addition to Using a Home Security App or Home Automation to Stop Break-Ins
Our final and important tips for creating a burglar-proof home are easy enough: Lock your doors. It seems simple, but did you know most thieves gain entry through front doors? This includes ensuring your garage door is closed even while you're home.
When you're creating your weekend to-do lists, be sure to also review our yardwork hints for creating a more secure home. Trimming bushes and installing motion lighting around your entries can go a long way toward deterring theft, and it's the perfect time of year to tackle those projects.
Protect Your Home and Neighborhood: Report Suspicious Door-to-Door Activity
If you've experienced these suspicious door-to-door sales tactics, please report it here or call us at 1-888-642-4567. If you suspect fraud, you also can contact your state's Better Business Bureau and local police or sheriff.
With this information and tips, you can rest easy, knowing you're prepared and ready for when someone uninvited comes to your front door.