Crimewatch with Walt Candelari
EVER HEARD of Vortexter X-90 home-security systems? No? Well, don’t go looking for one because they don’t exist – at least as far as I know. But, if they did exist and you had one of those beauties installed and protecting your castle, you could be in a “world of hurt”.
I have mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating that, as soon as you put a sign in your front yard or on a window proudly informing the world of your security system, crooks will be doing the research on how to defeat it.
If you put a sign out, which is not a bad idea, don’t advertise the company, brand, series or date installed.
Our friend Candy did the correct thing when there was a ring at her front door. She looked out and saw a uniformed man standing there. She didn’t open it but asked what he wanted.
Said individual mumbled that he was from XXX Alarm Company and that her system was in serious need of an update. Warning bells went off!
First, the uniform was not the same as she had seen in one of her security company’s ads. Then, he had arrived unannounced and unscheduled.
He flashed an impressive looking “company” document but it still didn’t pass the smell test. When Candy asked him how he had come to her house, he said the company had been canvassing the area and contacting individuals because the subdivision had been in place for a number of years and almost everyone there with that type of system was due for an update.
He said he had checked the back of her yard sign and it had the installation date, which further indicated a need for an update. Finally, he said the company had run an internal check of her system and found elements to be critically in need of updating or replacing.
When Candy told the man to stand by for a minute while she called the police to verify his information, he became upset and told her that he didn’t have all day to wait and, if she didn’t want the update, it was her problem and she could live with the results.
She thanked him and continued the call. He was indeed a phony and the police were already looking for him.
What Candy didn’t tell the man was that her husband Bill had replaced the entire system several years earlier but had never changed the sign.
Not only was this individual using the pretext of upgrading home-security systems to claim a healthy “fee” upfront; he then actually checked each victim’s system so he would know how to get around it and return later to burgle the home.
If you receive a call from a “security technician” who says he wants access to your system in order to realign its components or some other drivel, hang up!
How about free installation? Check the cost of the maintenance fees, the additional but necessary components and the “super secure” monitoring package before you bite. Don’t forget that the phishers who flash official-looking web pages really just want your personal information and money!
Remember: Think, plan and execute crime-prevention design. Don’t be a crime victim.
Walt Candelari is a crime-prevention specialist and community-policing officer with Dickinson police department.