MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "His parting words were 'good luck with your next robbery'," according to homeowner Charlotte Blake.
The words reminded her that you can never be too careful who you purchase a home security system from. Blake and her husband already had a good system in place in their Montgomery home and were satisfied with it when the unscrupulous man tried to get them to sign a contract on a new system.
'"And we reported it," said Blake, a tax accountant.
Therein lies the warning from the governing board of the home security industry.
'"About this time last year, we did a spot with WSFA and the next morning we had 14 calls from consumers that felt like they had been taken advantage of," said Deborah Speigner, the compliance auditor of the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure.
One study shows Alabama ranks fourth in the country in the number of burglaries and with the official start of summer just three months away, you may see an increase in the number of unlicensed salespeople using that data to gain entry into your home.
"In many cases they are young and good-looking and quite the charmer. They typically prey on senior citizens," according to Speigner, who added what typically happens is the salesmen will call or knock on the door, knowing there is a security warning sign in plain sight.
"First and foremost, ask to see their Alabama Security Board Licensure card. It is okay to call 911 if you feel the salesman becomes aggressive," said Speigner.
To be fair, Speigner says there are more than 700 certified and legitimate home security providers in Alabama. The board is simply sounding the alarm on those who don't play by the rules.
"You know, do your homework," said Blake, who has witnessed the ordeal firsthand.
One other bit of advice from the licensure board: Never feel pressured to sign anything and ask the salesperson to leave literature on the system so you can think about it. Never open your door to strangers.