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Fortress Security, a Leading Provider of Residential and Commercial Security Services, Aggressively Pushing Service Expansion with $2 Million Investment April 27th, 2017

PRESS RELEASE

With more than 40% year-over-year growth, Fortress Security has become the leader for localized security systems installation, monitoring and service in Texas.

DFW-based Fortress Security, a home and business security system installation specialist and provider, announced today that it has secured new funding and investments worth up to $2,000,000 to expand residential security systems and commercial security systems. This funding will allow them to better serve their customers in service areas across Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

The lending power now available to Fortress has been the result of aggressive and intentional market growth throughout multiple territories in Texas. Founded in 2001, Fortress Security, with headquarters in Arlington, Texas, has seen impressive acquisition and retention for its services in both the residential and commercial sectors. In 2016, Fortress Security had its best year ever in over 15 years in business with its highest revenues and largest customer database on record, providing security services to thousands of homes and businesses throughout the Texas and Oklahoma.

According to Fortress Security’s CEO, Jerrod Smith, the recent funding and investments will be leveraged to meet the high demand Fortress is experiencing of acquiring new customers throughout Texas and Oklahoma.

“We’ve always been a growing company, but in the past few years we’ve seen growth for home security systems and commercial security systems increase exponentially. Customers want hyper-responsive security monitoring and state-of-the-art security equipment from a reputable, stable local security provider. Fortress provides that, and we’ve built our reputation on meeting and exceeding customer expectations. The infusion of funding means that we will continue to deliver outstanding customer service to our current clients as well as offer the most advanced security products and services to new customers much more rapidly.”

If you’re looking to upgrade your system with video verification, or if you’d like to find out more information, contact Fortress Security today to learn more, http://www.fortresssecurity.com or (817) 226-7233.

About Fortress Security

Founded in 2001 in Arlington, Texas, Fortress Security configures, installs, and monitors customized business and home security systems. Popular products include burglar alarms, surveillance cameras, and remotely accessible home automation systems, access control systems and fire alarm systems all supported with 24-hour wireless monitoring services for burglar, fire, and medical emergencies. With over 21 years of experience in the security industry, owner Jerrod Smith has led his company to earn the Honeywell Dealer Council of Excellence and ITI/GE Americas Dealer Excellence Award as well as SD&I Magazine’s Top 50 Fastest Growing Security Companies in America for the past three years 2014, 2015, and 2016.

For more information, visit http://www.fortresssecurity.com.

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6 Reasons to Skip DIY Home Security System Installs March 24th, 2017

Do It Yourself Security Systems

Do-it-yourself home security systems have become increasingly popular over recent years. Homeowners, and renters, see DIY home security systems as an easy and inexpensive way to protect their home and their belongings. And, with a slew of home security products on the market, and thousands of DIY YouTube videos, an entire DIY system can be purchased and set up in a matter of hours. Sounds pretty easy, right?

Buyer beware! Many DIY home security systems can bring on more headache and hassle than security and can leave homes and families more vulnerable than they were before the system was installed.

To find out why DIY home security systems might not be the best solution for your security needs, we’ve compiled the top concerns and problems we hear about DIY security.

1.Thieves Can Easily Hack into Your DIY Systems

Far and away, the number one problem with DIY systems is that they can be easily taken over, turned off or manipulated by thieves and crooks. Instances like these have been well documented – by Forbes, Business Insider, SecuritySales.com, and more.
According to an article from Forbes last year, many mass market security devices can be easily hacked into and compromised. “Anyone who can locate a SimpliSafe owner can use basic hardware and software, bought for between $50 and $250, to harvest customer PINs and turn alarms off at a distance of up to 200 yards away.”

2. Faulty Installation Can Mean A False Sense of Protection

Another problem with the DIY’ers and YouTubers of home security systems is that a 20-minute installation video can make a very important security feature install look much simpler than it really is. Professional technicians go to school and receive extensive training for this very purpose. Protecting your home and your family shouldn’t be left to chance, and by attempting to install your own system, you run the risk of setting up equipment incorrectly or in the wrong places, and leaving your home unprotected.

3. Customization is Key to Properly Securing Your Home

Every home is different. Everyone’s family and lifestyle is different. Your home security system needs to protect both, and that’s why one simple system won’t work for everyone.

How many entry points does your home have? How many windows do you have that are easy for potential burglars to access? How many exterior blind spots do you have that are hidden from view of the street or your neighbors? Or, maybe you need more lifestyle sensors, like remote keyless entry for school-age children and cameras that let you know when they’ve safely come home from school in the middle of the afternoon?

All of these are problems with solutions easily provided by professional home security systems. Don’t try to piece together different products and create your own unique (and overly complicated) DIY system. Let an industry expert identify the right types of products and setup for your specific home and lifestyle needs.

4. Poor Security Equipment Quality

Products created for mass market consumption can often sacrifice quality to make production and costs of goods decrease and keep prices low. This means that a lot of the out-of-the-box home security products that you can buy at retailers or online will be of a much lower quality than products provided and relied upon by professional security system providers.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Check out what consumers and have said about SimpliSafe, LiveWatch, and others.

5. No Smart Home Technology and Integration

Ok, so that’s not exactly true. There are ways to install and rig DIY security products for SmartHome use, however, this can definitely lead to vulnerability issues and faulty performance when not done correctly.

You also have far fewer options to integrate with a DIY system than you do with a system setup and installed by a team of professionals. And, as with any new technology and integrations, you want to be sure to leave yourself ways to upgrade and enhance the tech as newer, “smart”er versions become available, which can be limiting with specific manufacturers and product lines.

6. Monitoring Can Be Tough

Think about it. Do you really want a minimalist, low-grade service responsible for safely monitoring and responding to your family’s security needs?

The marketing message of $10/month, no contract “monitoring” service sounds attractive, but remember, you get what you pay for.

With a professional services company monitoring your home, you’re guaranteed a 24/7 central monitoring service that can dispatch police, fire and medical aid immediately.

Want to learn more about your security system options? Contact Fortress today.

 

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What is video verification, and why do I need it with my home security system? December 28th, 2016

Video Alarm Verification

 

Video Verification Provides Enhanced Safety and Quicker Emergency Response Time

Watching your home’s security video feed through an app on your phone or computer has become the new standard. Known in the industry as self-surveillance, the rise in this kind of home monitoring is due to the decreasing costs of surveillance cameras and the increased capabilities of smartphone technology. These advances have also led to the latest trend in home security, video verification (VV). According to the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), “Video verification is the use of captured video or real-time video in which the video information or recording is aligned with the action that initiated an alarm event to assist in determining the protocol to be followed for the alarm event.”  In the past, video verification technology was too expensive for most homeowners and too difficult to install. But, that is no longer the case. Today video verification is quickly becoming a mainstream alarm system feature.

Video Verification benefits homeowners

With video verification, when a surveillance camera notices activity, the monitoring alarm center receives notice right away. A trained alarm center operator reviews the video footage, verifies what is transpiring, and reports it to the police right away.  If the trained operator is watching a burglary in progress via video, it will be issued a higher priority. A burglary in progress is treated as a “priority 1,” by law enforcement. An alarm triggered without video verification is usually considered a “priority 3,” a much less important priority.  The change in priority level from 3 to 1 means a much faster police response time. In the case of a tripped alarm, seeing is believing.

Video Verification benefits law enforcement

Video verification technology is proving to be a win-win for both homeowners and law enforcement. For homeowners, video verification provides a quicker response time by police. As law enforcement continues to be faced with increasing job demands and smaller budgets, video verification helps minimize wasted time and money with false alarms. For officers, knowing more about the situation before they enter a home can also increase an officer’s situational awareness and safety. It also helps law enforcement better enhance the safety of neighborhoods since robbers are deterred by video.

Chief Steve Dye of Grand Prairie, TX, shared, “From our perspective, we see no difference between an eyewitness calling to report a crime and a central station operator calling to report a crime they have seen on video.  In fact, the fact that a video exists of the actual event could mean the central station call could even be considered stronger.”  And, he means what he says. Currently, the response time for a video verified alarm in Grand Prairie, TX is less than two minutes.

Video Verification offered by Fortress

Fortress Security offers the affordable I-View Now technology video verification. This cloud-based central station video interface works with most current alarm systems. The service is web-based and does not require software or a dedicated application.

Ready to upgrade to system with video verification? Contact Fortress today to learn more.

 

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Smart Homes Keep Kids Safe After School December 15th, 2016

Do you leave your kids home alone?

According to a survey of working parents, one in five children ages 6 to 12 is regularly left without adult supervision after school. For many families, this is the best solution. Of course, children must have some basic skills, a level of maturity, and their parent’s trust to be left at home alone. Smart home technology is helping to put working parents’ most common worries to rest and making it safer for kids to stay at home alone.

How does Smart Home technology help working parents?

Smart Locks

Welcome to the life of the modern latchkey kids. Thanks to smart home technology, latchkey kids no longer have to carry a key around their neck. Gone are the fears of your child losing their key on the playground and being locked out of the house until you come home after work. Smart locks have the ability to be controlled by the parent from afar. If you know your child always walks in at 3:15 you can set the door to unlock then. Or if they are going to be late with an after-school activity you can unlock it from your smartphone at the new designated time. Children can also have their own “digital” key, which means they input a code into the lock to get into the house. A great safety feature of this technology is you can lock the door directly from an app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. No more sitting in a meeting worrying if your child locked the door after they came home.

Remote control access and video feeds keep kids safe

Another great safety feature is you can monitor who comes in and out 24/7 with an activity log on your smartphone.

Once a child is safely at home, you can arm or disarm the alarm system from your phone or computer. Managing the home environment is easy too. With a smart home you can set specific lights to come on at 3:15 and for the air or heat to kick in a few minutes before your child comes home, making the house comfortable for them.

Now that your child is safe inside, you can also monitor what he/she does with internal IP video feeds. With a click on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can see what is going on in different areas of the house. Is homework being done or are video games being played? Are healthy snacks being chosen or junk food? You can easily check-in and see. Children appreciate rules and routine so this kind of parental involvement, even while you are at work can add needed structure to their day.

Remote notifications of fire or carbon monoxide leaks and more

A smart house is equipped with the alarm system also to monitor for fire or carbon monoxide. If either were detected an alert would be sent to your phone as well as the call center.

Another great safety feature that is easy to incorporate into a smart home is a video doorbell like the Skybell video doorbell. The doorbell rings at 4 o’clock. Both you and your child on separate devices can check and see who is there. Is it your son’s best friend asking him to come over and play? An important package that needs signing? Or a dreaded door-to-door salesman? With a video doorbell, you decide if you want your kid to get the door. Even better, you can “answer” the door from afar. Using your smartphone, you can speak through the Skybell video doorbell and tell the salesman you are not interested. They will never know your child is in there alone since an adult just “answered” the doorbell.

Smart homes are making after school safer for kids today. Call us or fill out this form to get in touch with us about Honeywell smart home technology from Fortress Security, a leader in Texas home security, professional monitoring, and smart technology.

 

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Video Alarm Verification Proves to be Cost-Effective for Businesses November 30th, 2016

 

Look around almost any store you’re in these days, and you’re likely to see a security camera staring back at you. Sometimes hidden, sometimes right out in the open, cameras are an important weapon in a business’s security arsenal. And, video alarm verification is rapidly becoming a popular security feature for all businesses, big and small.

What is Video Alarm Verification?

In simple terms, video alarm verification just means that a video camera captures visual evidence to support a true alarm. Real-time video significantly reduces the “false alarm effect,” which can lead to slower response times and less immediate urgency.

Video Alarm Verification Is Cost Effective

Thanks to improved technologies and price decreases in said technologies, hardware, and monitoring, this type of security feature is now attainable for many businesses where it was cost-prohibitive before. Installation is also much simpler today and, therefore, more affordable.

How Does Video Alarm Verification Work?

How exactly does video alarm verification work? A video camera records movement in a store after hours. This is immediately sent to the store’s alarm company central station operator. If the operator sees a perpetrator they send a call immediately to the police. Since it was an eyewitness account of someone seeing the crime, it will receive a “priority 1” ranking from law enforcement and a quicker response time from the police.

Police Arrive Faster with Video Alarm Verification

How much does video verification really help, though? In Grand Prairie, Texas, for example, officers have been arriving at the scene of the crime in less than two minutes when a video verified alarm is dispatched. This is in comparison to the fifteen minutes of response time from a typical alarm. This significant time difference can save businesses substantial money because a faster response time means less property loss. Businesses also receive fewer false alarm fines since the monitoring company can see right away if the alarm is real or accidental. As the costs of false alarms continue to rise that can really help a company’s bottom line.

Video Alarm Verification Keeps Law Enforcement Safe

It is a win-win for both businesses and police forces. With police budgets under intense strain, many departments are only sending officers to checking out video verified alarms now. For example, Detroit, Michigan recently gave a 60-day notice that their police would only respond for a video verified alarm. It helps law enforcement by not wasting their valuable time, and taxpayers’ money, to come out and explore a possible false alarm. It also keeps police safer. If there is video alarm verification of a crime in progress, they have a better idea of who they are looking for and what to expect when they get to the scene. Police can come armed and prepared rather than walking into an unknown situation.

Video Alarm Verification Comes with Smartphone Access

Another great benefit for store owners and company leaders is the ability to view footage on their smartphone. Business owners can use their phone to remotely view video anytime. This means they can make sure their staff is opening the store on time, treating customers the right way, and locking up the office properly at night.

Learn how video verification can help you. Call Fortress today to get a free quote on adding video alarm verification to your business security system. It’s more affordable than you think.

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The Best Smart Home Security System for You November 15th, 2016

With the proliferation of technological advancements, both home and business security industries are constantly receiving new innovations.  And, you, the consumer, gets to reap the benefits. A top-of-the-line home security system two years ago has evolved tremendously into different options that are available today. But, just what kind of security system offers the most state-of-the-art protection for your home today? It starts with the creation of a fully automated home, or a “smart home.”

And, what exactly does “smart home” mean? A smart home means your home is responsive to your lifestyle. Smart homes, too, give you the ability to control items around the house with a simple push of a button. Having a smart home means you can control your home, from your central keypad, or from your phone, tablet or desktop computer.

A smart home security system always starts with a central hub – your control panel. It’s the heart of your system. Fortress Security’s home automation solutions include the Honeywell Tuxedo keypad, the Rolls Royce of control panels in the industry. This control panel features a high-resolution, 7-inch touch screen. It is from this panel that you can control everything “smart” in your home. Or, you can go remote. Fortress Security’s Total Connect smartphone app allows remote control and management of all your Fortress Security systems and home automation features including, security, cameras, energy, lighting, and your doorbell.

Modern Monitoring

Just as important as using modern equipment to build your system, is the kind of monitoring your alarm system receives. Fortress Security has one of the nation’s largest network of monitoring centers. Because of this, our customers receive the fastest response on the market. Our 4G interconnected network of five monitoring centers are U.L. listed and equipped with the latest telephone, computer, and redundant back-up power systems available today. This monitoring coverage ensures your services are never interrupted. Our professional monitoring staff are fully trained, licensed, and background checked, and they are there 24/7 ready to respond to any emergency at any time.

IP Video

An IP camera, or internet connected camera, is another popular component of today’s security systems. This digital video camera can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet, unlike an analog or closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Is this add-on worth the additional price? Yes, if you’re interested in watching real-time streaming video via your smartphone or PC.

With IP cameras, you can save, record and access all your recorded data from virtually anywhere. This technology is helping to make quickly and accurately identify criminals breaking into a house or stealing packages off of your front porch.

Safety Sensors

Fortress offers top-of-the-line sensors for safety. Our glass break sensors for doors and windows use a shatter recognition technology listening for glass break frequencies. And, Fortress’s line of motion sensors gives you the protection you need in any environment using today’s latest optics technology. Another lesser known benefit, Fortress Security’s door and window sensors can protect against any opening, like important cabinets or safes inside your home.

When it comes to in-home safety, our smoke sensors offer state-of-the-art photoelectric, optical sensing chamber technology. And, our carbon monoxide sensor utilizes electrochemical sensing technology that measures carbon monoxide levels in the air. This allows for the highest level of protection against smoke and fire dangers for you and your family.

Other Smart Home Automation Solutions

Many cutting edge smart home features incorporate into a Fortress system, starting with the addition of a touch screen smart thermostat. Fortress’ Smart Z-Wave thermostat can set heating and cooling profiles and reduce energy waste. Have it set to turn off while you are at work, and come on thirty minutes before you come home at night. Using smart home technology like this can save you up to 33% on annual heating and cooling costs. The Z-Wave smart lighting feature can also control the lights in and around your house so you don’t waste energy. And, with smart technology you can make sure you never forget to turn on your front porch light at night.

Fortress also offers automatic door locks to help you lock or unlock your doors remotely. Remote locking and unlocking is super convenient for kids coming home after school or when you want to unlock your door for a visitor when you are not home.

SkyBell, a video doorbell, is another new smart security device now available to help homeowners. SkyBell lets you see, hear, and speak to visitors at the door while you’re not there (or even home). All of these smart features easily combine with Fortress’s Honeywell Total Connect® 2.0 Remote Services app, so you can manage all aspects of your home from mobile devices.

Security systems will continue to evolve as smart homes continue to evolve. Right now, these security features are the best in the business. Fortress security lets you pick and choose the products you want or need for security in your daily life.
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Keep Your Family Safe With Honeywell Weather Alerts October 10th, 2016

Honeywell weather alerts for severe weather alerts through the security panel

Texas Weather can Change on a Dime

You never know what is going to happen with Texas weather. One winter day it’s sunny and mild, the next day, snowpocalypse. Truly, Texas weather can change on a dime.

December 26th, 2015 was one of those days. Last year, a day after Christmas, nine tornadoes hit the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It was sudden, and most citizens were not aware of the coming disaster. Many people were caught off guard, and many were not able to take cover by the time the tornado sirens went off. As natural disasters are largely unpredictable, it is important to have safety precautions in place in the home. Weather alerts are a great – even lifesaving – feature of a smart home.

Honeywell Smart Home Security with Weather Alerts

Fortress Security is proud to offer Honeywell products, including state-of-the-art, full color, touch screen panels. In addition to controlling your security system, you can also control the household lights and thermostat, view video from cameras both inside and outside the house, and now receive important weather warnings.
 
 
Honeywell L7000 Weather Warning Security System for Smart Homes
 

How it Works

Weather services integrated into your security system can provide up-to-the-minute severe weather alerts as well as current weather and five-day forecasts. If you are a weather service subscriber and a tornado was in the area, you would hear a series of loud beeps (no one could ignore) and a warning message would appear on your alarm panel. Since weather emergencies can come on so quickly, this truly can be a lifesaver. The up-to-date information is issued by the National Weather Service through the cloud to your security panel.

Watching out for kids & the elderly

There is a great security feature for kids who may stay at home by themselves for a few hours after school, or for elderly parents who reside in their own home and lack the technology to be notified otherwise. If they are not online or watching TV at the time of a severe weather alert, they might be clueless about an oncoming tornado or other such emergency. The loud beep and message would alert them to take cover in the family’s designated safety area. You can also monitor and control the system away from home with Honeywell’s Total Connect Information Services. So even if you were at work, you would know there was a tornado warning in your home’s area.

Weather Alerts in Action

Tornado touchdowns have been verified in all fifty states. The Coleman family from Long Island, New York recently went through a tornado disaster drill. Chris Coleman, a Honeywell employee, (and weather alert subscriber) received a nervous call at work from his son at home. His son explained that the tornado warning was going off on their Honeywell LYNX Touch security system panel. Chris told him to get to safety quickly in the basement. Luckily, the tornado never touched down in the area, and Chris’s son was perfectly safe. But the added layer of safety was a great benefit to this family, and it provides peace of mind going forward.

A smart alarm system can keep your family safe from burglary, fire, carbon monoxide, and now, even severe weather. Call or fill out our contact form to talk with a Fortress Security representative about ensuring the safety of your family in the case of a severe weather incident.
 
 
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Home Automation and Remote Monitoring – The Simple Way to Manage your Security System August 17th, 2016

shutterstock_427455571

Home automation is the wave of the future, and the future is now. Now all of your devices, and we are not just talking tablets and smartphones, can connect to the Internet. In the industry, it’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). Today your alarm, garage door, lights, doorbells, appliances, thermostat, really, almost anything, can take commands and communicate.

You can install or upgrade your security system to be able to monitor your home, inside and out, from a simple app on your smart phone. No need to be home to arm or disarm your system. You can turn it on and off virtually with your smart phone from afar. Say you already made it into work, and you realized you didn’t activate the security system, simply arm it from the security app you downloaded to your phone. This also works great if you locked up the house, set the alarm, headed out for the day and then realized the housekeeper is on her way and she doesn’t have to code to get in. You can “keep tabs” on your home while you’re away. To life even easier, multiple people in the house can have the same app in a household.

How widely adopted is Home Automation?

That is just the beginning of the age of home automation. According to current research, the home automation industry will reach 22 billion dollars in revenue by 2020. Right now you can also lock and unlock doors, make sure the garage is closed, turn on and off the lights, manage the thermostat, and watch streaming surveillance camera video from your front porch all from your iPhone, Android or tablet. Fortress Security’s Total Connect smartphone app lets you control your complete smart home security system from the palm of your hand from inside or away from your house.

Another great feature of home automation security systems is the ability to create a variety of home events like, “bedtime” or “leave for work.” Program an event and your security system and other smart home features will automatically control or activate selected devices throughout your home for that particular event.  For example, your “leave for work” event can arm the security system, dim lights, lock doors and adjust the thermostat.  Your “bedtime” event can arm the alarm, turn down the thermostat and turn off all lights.

Security systems with home automation are easier than you think for the end-user. You might be surprised how easy it is to bring home automation into your home and simplify your lifestyle.

Fortress Security offers a wide range of home and business security capabilities and system options to protect your valuables. Give us a call or fill out an online to form to request a free quote today.

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5 Obvious (and Not so Obvious) Ways a Home or Business Security System Can Save You Money August 4th, 2016

If you run a business, small or large, you know how important a security system is to your bottom line. You are aware of the obvious ways a business security system can save you money, for example against theft protection. But there are also some less visible ways a business or a home security system can offer long-term savings. For example, a good home or business security system can help you save beaucoup bucks on electricity costs among other savings. Here are five other reasons why installing a security system is a good investment for your home or company –

  1. A Security System Deters Theft

Theft can happen from within your company and outside your company.

Inside Jobs – According to 2015 research provided by Statistic Brain, $50,000,000,000 is stolen annually from U.S. businesses by employees. Clearly, there are many, more complicated, ways to steal from a company, other than just taking cash from a register. From inventory theft to stealing customer data or copying digital assets that belong to the company – it’s all stealing and hurts your bottom line. A business security system can prevent and deter common theft and make employees think twice before they take what is not rightfully theirs. Most of the time employees take because it is easy, not because of financial reasons.

Outside jobs – Your company may be the target of theft from the outside too. From professional thieves to someone desperate for money to fuel an addiction, an unprotected workplace is an easy be a target.

According to the Crime Doctor, a home burglary occurs every fifteen minutes. Most residential burglaries happen during the day when homes are not occupied. A home alarm and a visible sign can go a long way to protect your residence and offer home security system savings. The most popular time for a burglary to occur is right now- during the summer months. According to the FBI, the average dollar loss per burglary in the U.S. is $2,185. Loss actually accounts for much more than that as you can’t put a price on the loss of peace of mind.

  1. A Security System Can Provide Insurance Savings

Installing a home or business security system can offer you plenty of property insurance savings. If you own a business you are going need something to offer and… insurance. Depending on the kind of business you have you may need, among other coverages, general liability insurance, property insurance, commercial auto insurance, workers compensation and a business umbrella policy. Your needs will likely be a mix of these coverages. Needless to say this all can be a good chunk of change and any way you can save it helps. A business security system can help gain some valuable insurance discounts from your insurance company.

This goes for the homestead too. An initial investment in a security system can offer long-term insurance savings. Insurance agencies can offer discounts up to 20% for auto insurance when a home security system is installed.

  1. Automation of Lights Offered from a Security System Offers Energy Savings

John is the last to leave the office. He’s in a hurry, and he doesn’t have the time to walk through the office and turn off all the lights. Your energy savings just went out the door with John. In an office environment, light sensors can detect activity in a certain area and go on when you enter the room, and turn off soon after the last occupant has left the room. They are easy to install and this kind of automation can offer a company significant savings in the long run. It is the future of electricity management and an easy to manage cost-saving business measure.

This also goes for smart homes. When you get tired of yelling, “____ turn off the lights when you leave a room.” It’s time for a smart home and some smart savings.

  1. A Security System Saves Money with Automated Climate Control Systems

Did you know that a thermostat controls half your energy bill? On average a smart thermostat saves 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. Most homes and offices waste vast amounts of energy heating and cooling areas that are vacant some of the time. For a home or office, automated climate control systems can be set to adjust to patterns observed and learned. An automated climate control system for a home or office can provide huge savings from controlling the temperature. You can program it to be off when people aren’t home during the day or aren’t at an office at night. If no one is in the office 7pm -7am then the air should be off. It can also be programmed to heat and cool only certain rooms or zones. If no one is ever in a board room then you can shut it down – just like with an unused guest room in the house. 

  1. Water, Fire and Gas Detection

You can’t put a cost on the safety and protection of your friends, family and colleagues. Knowing that your company or home is protected against a gas leak or a fire is immeasurable. Carbon monoxide sensors guard against the threat of invisible, odorless carbon monoxide poisoning. Monitored smoke detectors can protect your home or office and can catch a fire in its earliest stages. The statistics are shocking. According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage. According to the same association three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Flooding and storm damage, leaking appliances, busted water heaters, overflowing tubs can be expensive endeavors to fix in a home or an office. According to Homewyse, it can range from $11.30 – 24.40 a foot to repair in a residence. Water leak detection monitoring can catch a problem early when it is much less expensive to fix.

Fortress Security offers a wide range of home and business security capabilities and system options to protect your valuables. Give us a call or fill out an online to form to request a free quote today.

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Is That Home Security Representative a Door-to-Door Scammer? July 6th, 2016

Door to Door Scammer?

Door-to-door scams may not seem as commonplace as they once were – with people now more educated on sneaky sales tactics and the ever-increasing use of the Internet for online shopping and product comparison.  But, door-to-door sales scams are still happening, especially in the summertime, and there’s a good reason for that.

Quite often during the summer, there is also the influx of new, college students, home for the summer and taking short-term jobs with larger security companies that may not adhere to the training they were given, doing anything to get in sales before the summer ends. Don’t fall prey to these scams. Follow our suggestions below to have a fun, worry-free summer.

Know what to look for before you answer the door.

What are the usual types of scams?

Free Upgrades

These tend to happen from salespersons posing as representatives from your security system provider. They say that they are here to upgrade your system, however, they are actually changing out your system with a competitor’s at a higher contract price. They will say things like “your security company merged with ours or our company just bought your security company, and now we’re upgrading everyone on the legacy systems.” They will also say your security company is going out of business, and they’ve taken over the contracts and need to process a free upgrade. Anything that is “free” should raise a red flag.

Burglars

This may seem obvious, but these guys are generally very good at what they do. These would-be burglars are actually posing as a salesperson, just looking to scope out or modify your system so they can gain access more easily, at a later time.

Phone Call Scams

Not all scams are door-to-door. In fact, in 2014 home security systems phone call scams were among the top scams that year. Often the scammer will resort to calling your home and asking which security system you have installed — pretending to be a salesman for another company, but in reality, they’re just determining if you’re an easy target. Many times they will start out as a pre-recorded call aka robocall hoping you’ll take the bait and stick on the line to speak with a “representative.” The content of the robocall usually sounds generic and won’t bother listing a company name in the process.

Be aware they shouldn’t ask for a credit card or any other sensitive information over the phone. If they do, that should set off some alerts in your head to hang up the call.

Ways to avoid scams

Knowledge is power, so first and foremost make sure you contact your existing alarm company before signing any contracts or paperwork from a door-to-door salesperson from another security company.  Second, inform your kids and anyone staying at your home for the summer of your alarm system and the potential for scam artists. Let them know that any changes would be scheduled and no person coming to change or fix your system would try to sell you something.

If you schedule a maintenance or upgrade appointment, make sure everyone is aware that someone will be visiting your home to work on the system, especially if you won’t be there.

Visual cues can help you decide if they are with your company. Start with the solicitor. Do they have a uniform or other identifying materials on them? Does their car have a wrap or any other company decals? Some states even require a “pocket card” that includes a license and photo ID.

No Soliciting signs are also a good deterrent for scam artists. If you let it be known that you aren’t willing to be approached, they’ll be less likely to knock on your door in the first place.

If you don’t have a sign, ask them if they have a soliciting permit in your city? Are they abiding by the rules of that permit? If they are at your home before 9am or after 7pm they are more than likely violating the ordinance. Here’s one example of a solicitation permit, required by Richardson, Texas –

fortress_security_solicitation_permit

Keep in touch with your neighborhood watch program and find out how common scams are in your area, and watch the local news for any notices of scams.

Get on the Do Not Call list, this will minimize solicitation calls and the potential for future scams. It’s free and easy to add yourself to the list. Just check out https://www.donotcall.gov/ and fill out the appropriate form. If someone calls you and you’re on the list already, remember to report them on that site as well!

Protect yourself and others

If you are one of the unfortunate targets of a potential scam this summer, do your part to help make it stop. Taking the time to report a potential scam artist can save many in your area the time and frustration that comes with undoing the damage caused by them. So, where do you start?

Start by contacting the local authorities to report the salesperson. Your local police department should have a non-emergency number you can call to report them. Also, don’t let your neighbors fall prey to scammers. Let them know of your encounter by posting on any online forums that you may have for your neighborhood on Facebook, Nextdoor or even texting them to get the word out.

In the unfortunate case you become the victim of a scammer, remember, you have 3 days to cancel any contract you signed. You can also file a consumer complaint with the Texas Attorney General or BBB if you like.

Spend your summer scam free

As summer begins and the temperatures rise, so do the chances you’ll encounter someone trying to scam you out of your hard earned money. Taking the time to make you and your household aware of the risks is the best way to keep a scam from happening to your home. Also, know that most reputable security companies won’t come to your home unless you have scheduled an appointment with them.

Fortress Security offers a wide range of home security capabilities and other safety features. Give us a call or fill out an online form to request a free quote today.

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