Home security fraud is becoming more common in the U.S., and recent reports show that people over 65 are becoming definite targets. Fraudulent companies and individuals are using a variety of techniques to confuse, bully, and otherwise push the elderly into buying they don’t need and that cost thousands of dollars to cancel.In order for elderly homeowners to protect themselves from incidents like this, they need to know what they can do in order to stop fraud before it starts, as well as the kinds of scams of which they should be aware.
Elderly or widowed women who live alone are common targets of home security fraud.
According to the website, in a recent fraud case, “A sales rep told Minnesotan Mary Jackson, 88, that her existing provider had gone belly-up, then pressured her into signing a contract with a new company. ‘The man just walked into my home and put in a new box before I could do anything,’ she recalls. ‘He was very pushy.’ When she learned that her old company was still in business, she tried to cancel the new service — and was told she’d need to pay $3,000 to do that.”
Homeowners such as Jackson should always remember that they are well within their rights to not only call the police if they feel their home is being invaded by a pushy salesman, but they should always call their existing before the salesman is allowed to install anything. Once new equipment is installed or a contract is signed, they are very difficult to remove or terminate
Elderly homeowners are also being targeted for home security fraud when it comes to comprehensive all-in-one packages that have costly hidden fees. Some dishonest companies will highlight huge savings with offers like mobile apps and limited-time offers, but in many cases, they fail to disclose the actual costs that lie within. Installation fees and monthly mobile monitoring fees are usually the most common costs that are not directly disclosed, leaving elderly people with a limited budget constantly in the red every month.
Before they sign a contract, any homeowners over 65 should either read the contract over in full or have someone present who they trust, such as one of their grown children or a caregiver. Overall, older homeowners should beware of door-to-door home security salespeople, as they are often the most common peddlers of fraudulent services.
Author – Emily is a 10 year veteran of the home security industry working in sales. She was atop sales person at leading home security companies, but has shifted her focus to working on helping consumers make the right decisions.