GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- When we hear about someone being taken advantage of, we often ask how could they fall for that?
In the heat of the moment, it's probably easier to fall victim to a scam or aggressive sales tactics than you might think.
For a couple of years now, the Federal Trade Commission has been warning people about shady practices by some door-to-door salespeople, especially those representing home security systems.
While many reps are legitimate, others have found success using high pressure tactics and outright lies to get you to switch companies or sign you up for new service.
Earlier this summer, a woman was sitting on her front porch when two men approached. They told her that they represented a home security company that had just purchased her current security company. It was not true; it's a common lie told by unscrupulous sales people.
"I am asking questions during this entire time, 'So when did you guys buy out Monotronic?' Well ma'am, we don't officially have any dates, but we know that to be in effect," explained one local victim who asked not to be identified.
However, she didn't ask enough questions so she ended up signing a five-year contract with the new company. She was lucky because the new company did agree later to pay for the remaining six months left on her old contract.
Legally, the security company is not obliged to do that-- and many other people in the same position end up making payments to two companies.
The FTC says never agree to anything until you have checked out the sales person and the company, something the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan also recommends.
"First and foremost, do your homework before you allow them to step across the threshold of your door," says Phil Catlett of the Better Business Bureau. "Where are you from? Show me ID before I'll let you in, I'm going to contact the company to check it out to find out if you are who you say you are"