Alarm bells ring as security company targets residents

By Sophie McCarrick [email protected]

A warning has been issued to home owners to be on their guard following a spate of unsolicited telephone calls from a home security company offering free alarm installations.

Many residents contacted by a Europe Alarm Systems (EAS) voiced their concerns through online message boards and other forums about the sales methods employed and the veracity and cost of the services being offered.

Now afpop, the association for foreign residents in Portugal, has said: “We have been made aware of a potential scam from a person purporting to represent a company called Europe Alarm Systems (EAS).

“Unsolicited phone calls have been received from a female stating that she has obtained telephone numbers and names from Land Registries and that they are offering free crime prevention surveys to home owners and that local Câmaras are paying for installation of alarms, which are then maintained at the home owners’ expense.”

Checks carried about by the Algarve Resident and afpop found no evidence that such agreements exist nor that contact details are available from Registeries.

Albufeira Mayor Desidério da Silva said the Câmara denied any involvement in such action and alerted all property owners “to this scheme”.

The Algarve Resident contacted EAS and Derek Fogel, the company’s Security Advisor, stated in an email on Tuesday: “The information is incorrect. The information you are receiving is misconstrued, as in reference to any council, we are referring to the security initiative in place by the local council.”

However, many residents claim they have been contacted up to four times from a Portuguese land line number and said that the female caller insisted that “62% of expatriates were wanting to leave the Algarve” due to the rise in crime and that this evidence should “encourage them to invest in the offer EAS was promoting”.

The annual charge the woman quoted for monitoring the system once installed was €1,700.

Other security companies contacted by the Algarve Resident, such as Securitas and Charon, offer monitoring for an average annual fee of between €250 and €400, depending on the size of the property. When contacted again on Wednesday this week by the Algarve Resident, Derek Fogel of EAS responded by email: “One new member of staff has notified the management that she in fact misunderstood the offer initially.

“The fact that she had only been working with the company for ten days is irrelevant, as all information should be accurate. She has been removed from the call centre and this situation will not happen again.”

In a statement sent to members and press on Wednesday, afpop urged all residents to ensure that they have ascertained that any call and offer is genuine before giving any information over the telephone or inviting any company to their home.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]