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CBS4 Exposes Alarm Company Scam

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The CBS4 Investigative Unit has uncovered a scam going around South Florida involving alarm company salesmen—they are flat out lying to you to get your business.

By the time you realize it, it may be too late.

When CBS4 confronted one security company allegedly running the scam they ran the other way.

Monday in Doral we caught up with Yassiel Cabre.  According to his business card, he's a salesman who works for Alarm Digital Telecommunication.  We found evidence he may work under other names as well.  Whatever company he's working under though he doesn't work for ADT, yet on his business card, paperwork, even a folder he gave one victim, the ADT logo is prominently shown.

Victims told us when he shows up at your door he tells you he's with ADT.

When we caught up with Cabre we asked him if he worked for ADT.  As he got in his car, he softly replied, "No sir."  It's stark contrast to what he was saying a few months ago at the Miami Beach Home Show. Prominently posted over his booth was the ADT logo.

One victim told CBS4 Cabre approached him telling him he was with ADT and could save them money.  Only one thing—he doesn't work for ADT.

ADT confirmed Cabre worked for an authorized dealer some time ago but no longer does.

Another giveaway that he wasn't who he claimed to be was the contract he gave the victim.  It's with Monitronics, a competitor to ADT.  It's easy to miss the logo with all that fine print locking you into a five year contract.  The victim told us he saw the logo.  When he questioned Cabre, he said Cabre explained "Monitronics had been purchased by ADT."  According to the victim, Cabre told him Monitronics, not being the ADT name brand, would save them money.  He assured them, though, it was still ADT.

ADT has not purchased Monitronics.

David Bleisch is general counsel for ADT.  He wasn't surprised by what we found.

"We estimate just on the number of complaints we get, that tens of thousands of people per year are being scammed by people like that," Bleisch said.

At ADT headquarters in Boca Raton, lawyers are getting involved because more and more customers are being duped.  Bleisch explained

"There are a lot of legitimate companies that knock on doors to sell a system. The problem is when you lie to do it.  You know lying and defrauding consumers by claiming to be some company you're not or claiming that you are doing something or representing something that you're not.  That's the scam that's being used and that's the scam we are trying to push out of business," Bleisch explained.

Home security is a very competitive industry.  ADT showed us just how competitive it has gotten.  They provided us a training video from a competitor taken on a cell phone.  The video is evidence in an ADT lawsuit against Vision Security.  In the video, ADT says lead sales manager Brett Harris is instructing a room full of sales people how to get you to switch alarm monitoring companies.  He role plays with someone off camera, pretending to be approaching a random door.  He pretends to knock on the door and the person pretends to open the door.  Harris introduces himself and then points to a security alarm sign in the yard.  He says "Just judging by the sign you guys have had five or six years now?" The role player responds, "umm actually we moved in about five and half years ago." Harris then turns to the sales people in the room and explains, "See I'm trying to find out if she is out of contract. Right?  If she said oh no we just had it put in six months ago, I want to get the heck out of there."

The video is full of loaded questions, but then it takes a questionable turn. Remember he works for Vision Security.  Harris turns to the pretend homeowner and explains he is with another company.

"We are with GE.  We are the makers of all the equipment that you have in the home so we do business with all the security companies, ADT is one of them. The reason we are out here is we are just taking down those old panels, popping up a new one for ya.  Nothing that you have to pay for."  He turns to the sales people to explain further.  "You gotta say that right off the bat.  Nothing that you have to pay for because you don't want them to say 'oh no we are good.  Because they are thinking oh great he's going to try to sell me something."

In essence, Harris is claiming to be someone he's not.  Later in the presentation he explains once the new equipment is in, you get the customer to sign a contract with a new monitoring company - either unknowingly  - or he tells you the new company will actually save you money.  He tells the pretend homeowner "We are just taking down the old panels and popping up a new one for you.  Nothing that you have to pay for."  If this was a real transaction taking place in a home it could be considered fraud.  But the video is all pretend so it's unclear if any laws or anything criminal is taking place.

When asked about the video, Bleisch shakes his head.

"I was shocked. I mean to see that so blatantly being taught to a room full of people is shocking.  Obviously the person who did that training obviously has no conscience.  The company that employed him should obviously be responsible for that conduct," Bleisch said.

Vision Security ended up settling with ADT for more than $2 million last year.  But since these videos surfaced, ADT is now trying to stop these training's.  They are also offering up to $25,000 for new videos of these trainings or actual scams.

So how do you keep from getting duped by someone claiming to be with your alarm company? It's simple.  If someone knocks on your door or approaches you at a home show, do your homework.  Before you let them in the door, call your alarm company to confirm the person at your door is who they say they are.  And remember the best advice is the old adage, 'If it sounds too good to be true... It is.'


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