Security One

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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.



  1. I’m not sure I would trust anyone who is selling security..there are red flags for these people to me one….They are strangers whom you invite into your home and they now know you don’t have a form of security to protect your home. That in itself is frightening , the next best thing would be to go downtown grab a meth head and show them your valuables and give them your address. I think a lot of people should be informed about these things, and what to do if they are presented.

    personally, I never ever invite a stranger into my home. I usually step outside and speak with them…cheap patio furniture comes in handy here. I’ll listen to their schpeil but always call them out on their BS sections…If they know your paying attention you make yourself less of a victim. Don’t be afraid to call them on it! If you become an aware person you become less of a target and less likely to be targeted if the person is a criminal.

    I always say something like..oh that’s an interesting tie, or nice suit or something about their outfit or hair so they know that I am paying attention to their description as well. And I could easily identify them if something did happen… I had my home broken into a long time ago by a man “mowing lawns” and his co-horts…He approached me and asked if he could mow my lawn (he had no lawn mower with him) I told him sorry I have my son to do it…. My husband was out of town the day the man stopped by and my son came outside and interrupted and asked when Dad would be back in was an invitation for this man. My husband WAS home when the break in occurred and I was awake and it was the scariest thing ever….BE CAREFUL WITH WHO YOU INVITE INTO YOUR HOME!

  2. Treat them like a U.S. senseless worker. Demand a government issued photo ID that you are familiar with (a drivers license) and make a copy of it first.

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