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Alarm goes out for alarm salespeople

Tuesday - 5/24/2011, 12:53pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

LEESBURG, Va. -- They may show up at your front door trying to sell you an alarm system. If you aren't careful, your bank account could suffer.

This warning comes from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services about unscrupulous salesman trying to sell you an alarm system for your home.

In some cases the alarm system may be minimally effective and include high monitoring fees.

The sales people often come in from out-of-state to areas that have just had a spike in crime, says Leesburg police officer Christopher Tidmore. They offer high-pressure sales using fear as a focus.

They may offer a "one time only, buy right now" type of plan, says Tidmore.

He says the salesman should be able to show you identification indicating the company is licensed to do business in Virginia. In some towns like Leesburg, the salesman may also need a permit.

And Tidmore has advice for those who do want an alarm system.

"Check with another company, get a couple of bids," he says. "Do a little research on the company you're going to choose."

The warning indicates the high pressure pitch from out-of-state salesman is most common in areas that border other states, like Loudoun County.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)