I’ve heard from several folks about door-to-door salesmen in and around Great Falls, peddling a security system of some sort – and on Monday it was my turn. “Barry” was a nice guy – very smooth, well-dressed, etc. He whipped out a business certificate issued by the city of Great Falls, and then asked if we would plant a small sign in our yard for Security One – in exchange for a free security system. He gave me the small sign as if it were a gift of some sort.
Then he asked if we had heard about the recent string of break-ins in our neighborhood. Um…no, we hadn’t.
In fact, since our next-door neighbor is a police dispatcher, and I work at KRTV and hear and see much of the scanner and police activity, I’m pretty sure we would have known if there had been a “string” of such break-ins.
Then he proceeded to tell us which of our neighbors had signed up for the Security One service – he rattled off four or five names and addresses on our street – and none of the names rang a bell.
I asked him if he had any literature that we could read – a brochure, a pamphlet – and he came up empty. After a few more attempts at getting any tangible information out of him, I told him bluntly, “Just give me something that I can use to do some research before we go any further.” He replied, defensively, “That means you’re not going to buy it.” He gave me a generic business card, grabbed the sign out of my hand, and walked away.
A little Google-fu turns up this informative article in the Billings Gazette, which reads in part:
“In Utah, the BBB gave F grades to three of the alarm companies currently working in Montana, including Pinnacle, Elite Security Services and Security One of Torrance, Calif., which is working in the Great Falls area this summer. The best these companies could do was a C+ for Platinum Protection. Because of its legal troubles in Oregon and other states, APX’s rating with the BBB was recently downgraded from B to C-.”
And over on the KRTV Facebook page, there are already quite a few comments from folks who have been “pitched” the same way.
My take: the security service may not be a scam, but the manner in which they are trying to sell it negates any benefit the service might provide. Proceed with caution.
UPDATE: some folks have mentioned that the salesmen appear to be “casing” certain neighborhoods; while I don’t think that’s likely in this case, it’s certainly possible. My advice: as they are talking, snap a picture or two with your cellphone. If they balk at having their picture taken, that’s just one more reason for your Spidey-sense to activate.