If someone comes to your door selling home security systems, be wary: They could be breaking the law and they could be trying to scam you, according to the state Department of Consumer Affairs. Key things to know:
• Anyone selling home alarm systems door-to-door in California is required to have passed a criminal background check and have been licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. But in reality, warned the consumer agency, many sellers have done neither. Before listening to the pitch, ask to see the salesperson's state registration card.
• Beware of pressure to sign a contract immediately. Homeowners are sometimes pushed to sign overpriced alarm contracts that last for as long as five years, automatically roll over to a new term and give limited opportunity to cancel, the department said. Some contracts stipulate an early termination fee of several thousand dollars.
• In one scam, a salesperson finds a home with an alarm company sign or sticker and claims to be there to replace or upgrade the system. Or the salesperson may tell you that your company has gone out of business and he or she represents the new company. In both cases, state officials said, you will be told you must sign a new contract.