6 On Your Side Answers: Don’t believe a telemarketer who poses as an FBI agent

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – 6 On Your Side received a tip about a new telemarketing sales pitch that used a rather underhanded tactic to peddle home security systems.

Sarah in Monroe County asks: “I got a call from the FBI, telling me I’m in danger of having a break-in. How do these people get away with these things?”

Some of the best things in life are free, but that does not always apply to home security systems, especially those that telemarketers try to sell.

In Madisonville, Sarah Burnett got a call the other day from an out of state area code. The caller on the automated recording said she was a federal agent.

“She said, ‘This is the FBI calling you to inform you your police has informed us that you are in danger of having a break in,'” said Burnett, quoting the recording.

Mrs. Burnett thought the opening statements were odd, but she listened anyway. Then came the sales pitch.

“They could come and put a sign in my yard, and they would come and install a security system in my house, and it would all be free of charge. I wouldn’t have to pay anything,” she said.

Burnett said she wasn’t born yesterday.

“There is nothing in this world free. You have to pay for it somewhere down the line, or somebody does. So I hung up on her because my police don’t know I’m in danger of being
breaking in on. I thought I’d call [6 On Your Side] so you would know and let people know,” she said.

Rather than simply stating the real purpose for calling, which is to sell you a security system, these telemarketers get your attention first with the FBI ruse.

If you take the bait, what you’ll wind up getting for free is a $45 to $50 a month monitoring fee that goes with a multi-year contract with a big cancellation fee if you decided to change your mind after discovering the monitoring system isn’t what you thought it would be.

In the end, this “free” system could end up costing you thousands of dollars. There are plenty of local and reliable companies that sell security systems.

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