THOUSAND PALM, Calif. - You see alarm system signs posted in front of homes and businesses across the desert. They make it clear the building is secure. Police warn the public display of home security can also make your house a target for thieves.
Crooks are posing as alarm company technicians to get inside your home. It's happened several times in the Coachella Valley and several reports were made in Riverside this month.
Victims told officers a man dressed in an ADT alarm company uniform showed up at their doorsteps saying he needed to update their alarm systems. Sure enough, they let him in. The man looked around for only a few minutes, never touched the alarm system and then left.
"Not knowing what the person's intentions are, it could be very dangerous," said Sgt. Harvey Reed of the Palm Springs Police Department. "The person could be there for identity theft, the person could be there to steal property for a burglary crime or some kind of robbery."
Ron Rossi, of La Quinta, said he and his wife have been scammed before and they're on high alert.
"Once you're scammed, they're all the same," said Rossi. "It's scary, especially if you get hit later. If someone subverts the system because they learned something like you don't use it."
Police said to guard against future burglaries, homeowners should keep the following in mind.
- Alarm companies generally call ahead before sending a technician.
- Employees carry identification, and a property owner should demand to see it before allowing anyone in the home.
- Call the alarm company to confirm that a technician is supposed to be on the premises.
"If the resident didn't have an appointment scheduled, they should certainly close the door, call the business and verify they they do have an employee is at the residence," said Reed.
Anyone who believes they've been targeted in this or a similar scam should call the police.
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