HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A door-to-door solicitation in Huntsville could be a scam, or worse, a safety issue.
There are 92 homes in the Essex Square neighborhood off Bailey Cove Road in south Huntsville. One elderly couple says men who claim to be from ADT Home Security are showing up unannounced.
The men are casing homes, and are not ADT employees.
WHNT News talked with people who say it all starts with a valid security sign posted in your yard. This gives would-be robbers the incentive to knock on your door.
The person introduces himself, and then gives a sales pitch.
Door-to-door scams involving bad business and bad guys are growing fast, according to Michele Mason, president of the local Better Business Bureau.
"Our national office has said that the complaints on door-to-door solicitation has already doubled ... and we are definitely seeing surge right now in our community," said Mason.
Men claiming to be with ADT, wearing shirts that say "Security" offer no identification when they knock on doors.
ADT says that's not their protocol.
"ADT employees are required to present proper company identification and their Alabama Electric Board of Security Badge," the company said in a statement.
So, that's ADT's stance. But as it turns out, there's another company in the phone book called ADS Security. With such a similar name, we wanted to know how does this company go door to door?
We talked with ADS General Manager Kevin Whitley. He says he is disgusted by the door-to-door trends he is seeing.
"It hurts our image as well," said Whitley. "We refer to them generically within the industry as summer companies, and what they do is they send a band of young salespeople and they are very aggressive."
So how can you protect yourself and your property?
First, ask for the person's company ID. Make sure it has a picture and a name.
And don't forget:
"If you're selling security systems in the state of Alabama you are required to have a license," said Whitley. "It looks something like this, person's name, their picture and how to make sure they are licensed in the state. There is even an expiration date on here."
If the person doesn't have these things, what should you do?
"The first thing they should do is close the door," Whitley said. "If you are uneasy or you feel like you are threatened at all, call the police. [Also] please call the Better Business Bureau."
We're not saying it's a scam to go door-to-door.
"There are certain guidelines they have to follow and being pushy or threatening is not one of them," said Mason.
Another item to take note of: The FTC has something called the "Cooling Off Rule." This gives you three days to take back any hasty purchase. All you have to do is provide written notification to the company.