Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad alarm sales scams make good neighbors

Last night a guy showed up on my doorstep wearing a uniform of sorts, including a logoed shirt and lanyard with a photo ID. He was selling, erm, "giving away" alarm systems, because "We're all concerned about crime here."

Actually, dude, we're as much concerned with scammers who prey on people's sense of security.

I observed his name, badge number, physical description and emailed out to the neighborhood listserv about it. Many of my neighbors responded and encouraged me to call the police. I did, but they didn't seem very interested. They said they'd send out a patrol to take my statement, but they didn't.

This morning, our community association president passed this message on to the listserv:

Folks on the Partners Against Crime (II) listerv are posting messages about this company coming door to door in their neighborhoods. This update was posted on the PAC2 listserv last night...

> The NC Dept. of Justice is already investigating these alarm company scammers and actually has APX before a review board right now. There are about six different security companies involved in these scams and they're working with the states of VA and SC to obtain information and press charges. Under investigation, these companies have to provide proof of their company background, financial information, proof of training, etc. Based on the scams and the deceptive practices, they are going after them for felony charges (false practices) and criminal warrants.

Once the state is able to press charges, they will issue a cease and desist order so the company cannot operate anywhere in the state. If they continue to operate, it will be taken to the Superior Court and a restraining order established.

What they need to help build the case against these companies are specific complaints from residents. Paul Mason [City of Durham] got Mr. Liggins from the NC Dept. of State who was pleased to receive additional information/ complaints to help him build his case. If you've had experience with ANY security company selling door-to-door with deceptive practices, excessive pressure, ANYTHING that doesn't seem right about them, please forward the information directly to Mr. Liggins of the NC State Department of Justice: lliggins@ncdoj. gov.

Within six minutes of forwarding my complaint to the DOJ, I had an email back. Within 15 minutes, I had a call from the investigator, who was leaving Raleigh to cruise the area looking for this guy and to bring me a formal written complaint to file.

Dude. That's service.