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Honeywell alarm system scam


Yesterday we were visited by a couple of young guys posing as Honeywell sales technicians. They had picture IDs and wore FBI-like swat team logo teeshirts and caps and told us they had noticed our Local Security Company sign and that many of this company's customers had out-of-date security systems. The main salesman said that a lot of people had, in particular, outdated keypads. I immediately asked him if he was authorized by my security company and he told me he wasn't but that a replacement would be free if the existing keypad was an older model. That's very interesting considering that each one costs around $300. He said that older keypads used 2G telephone technology and that meant the system communicated over land line that could be easily cut and that the newer keypads used 4G technology which was cell phone technology so couldn't be interrupted. Well, I'm an engineer and I understand exactly how my system and phone technology works and I personally chose every component including the latest keypad at the time--the Ademco 6272CV. First of all, 2G technology is cell phone technology, not 'land line'. It is of course outdated but it still functions wirelessly. Second, I know well that the keypad has absolutely nothing to do with the GSM radio communication system that connects with Honeywell's AlarmNet communication network that any alarm system uses. So I knew this was a scam. I was very tough with them and they suddenly concluded that my keypad was up-to-date and said something about my metal sign needing upgrading. They left and the main guy said sarcastically that he'd wave to me if he saw me again in the neighborhood. Nice touch huh?

I immediately reported this to my Local Security Company but the woman in customer service just brushed it off, saying that they would never send someone door-to-door like that, which I already knew, and that they had no control over scammers like them. I later called a technical engineer and reported the incident to him and asked him if there was anything they might have gleaned from looking at the keypad. He said that, in general, no, but if there happened to be an uncleared fault in the system they would have seen the fault message and could then determine a possible vulnerability from that. He said that he would report the incident to the head security manager. I got a follow-up email saying he reported it to two company managers, both of whom had heard similar complaints before, and that what is most concerning to them is what these individuals are actually up to. "As you said they seemed to be well organized and have their pitch down and if people don’t have there guard up for things like this there is no telling what their real objectives are." "[Our company] doesn’t go door to door and Honeywell is only a manufacturer of equipment and therefore wouldn’t send anyone to your house at any time." It also came out in my phone conversation that my GSM module was only 2G and that they would upgrade it to 4G no charge.

I did a Google search honeywell alarm scam - Google Search and found that this is a common scam. It ranges from scammers installing shoddy security systems that can easily be defeated by their own fellow scammers, scammers 'casing the joint' and determining if the owner actually has a security system and just how sophisticated it is for later illegal entry, to one guy distracting the owner while the other guy sneaks in and robs the house. I didn't let them stay long enough to be able to determine which category these jokers fell under but I'm sure it was probably one of the three.

I reported the incident to the neighborhood Block Watch Captain who forwarded it to other captains in the development.

I'd like to hear other peoples' stories of similar experiences and any consequences of such intrusions.

Magnum Alert:
everything you said is correct, however, I'd also explain this to the local law enforcement as well.

There are, unfortunately, trunkslammer alarm dealers who hire college kid sales crews to go door-to-door selling lick-and-stick 2gig or Lynx or Simon systems, usually a sales pitch about how high the crime rate is and not "being a victim".  They typically work on commission and will tell a customer anything needed to close the sale on the spot.  I worked for a locally recognized dealer who ultimately resorted to that and flew these kids in from across the country, put them in a hotel for the summer, and they went door to door selling.  that was a whole division within the company called "summer sales" and, in a way, were not part of the core operation of the company.  When the kids went back to school in the fall, the inundation of service issues was ultimately dumped on me and the other two senior service techs.  The customer stories were unreal.  Going to someone who had a Simon system by a nationwide dealer and saying "this is an upgrade, just sign here".   We had to go back and reinstall his Simon panel when he found out that we were not his prior dealer.  One guy said that our company "bought out ADT" and this was an upgrade.  Another customer said that after they finished the install, the installers went out and got the customer's neighbors to come into the house and look at the security system.

Then the innundation of sensors falling off doors, wrong parts being used, Honeywell wireless devices being programmed as GE sensors.  Wiring stapled to drywall.

Those college kids got treated better than we did after we had been with the company a number of years.

If I was a dealer, I'd want nothing to do with a reputation like that.  Each customer complaint is another black eye to our industry.  I personally am actively looking to switch trades and go into possibly electrical work.  There is barely a future in security now unless you're a large integrator.

There's a good chance they were a legitimate dealer and not a criminal scam.  Either way, if they're not out to case a joint to break in, their business practices are still unprofessional and unethical.  Unfortunately, they will ultimately get someone to buy it.  Anyone can go on ebay and buy a kit of Lynx systems, get a dealer account with any central station, and go around doing lick-and-sticks.

Wow, that's unbelievable. BTW I neglected to mention that it was my wife who answered the doorbell. One of these jokers had a recently delivered package from USPS in his hand and his come-on was words to the effect that "your alarm system may be compromised." They both had a large 'cheat sheet' with pictures of various keypads and they just eyeballed ours to see if it was up-to-date. I don't know what their game was but just the fact that some stranger comes up to my door and inquires about my security system is already a serious violation of my privacy and very suspicious activity. The Block Watch Captain did report this to the police liaison for the neighborhood.

My city requires door to door solicitors register with the city and obtain a permit. They are also required to display the city issued permit/badge.

We also have no soliciting signs at each entrance to the neighborhood.

I always ask to see the city issued permit for anyone who rings my doorbell. Rarely do they have a permit. When they don't have one I call the police. They respond very quickly to these calls. 

I enjoy the look on their faces when I point out the security camera in the window and ask them to smile for the camera.

That's good. I don't think the city requires a permit. Any door-to-door soliciting is illegal. But judging by how many of these low lifes come into the neighborhood, I doubt the law is enforced unless someone complains. I don't answer the door unless I'm expecting a package or have an appointment with a tradesman or a friend calls ahead. Then I look through the one-way mirror first. Why upset myself or have someone ding my property when I rudely turn them away? It's easier to ignore them, even the rude door thumpers.
 These guys ever come back, I'll call the police without warning them. A cruiser is always on duty in the development so response would be immediate.


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