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Dolton police warn of scam targeting seniors

August 5, 2009 3:37:53 PM PDT
Police in south suburban Dolton say some senior citizens and disabled residents may be victims of a home security scam. They say a salesman tricked the residents into signing security contracts that cost more than what he quoted.

In the last couple of weeks, some Dolton residents say an affable man came to their doors, offering a deal to save money on their home security system.

It all sounded good, they say, until the promises he made were broken.

Visit one Dolton neighborhood and you'll see that many residents use Pinnacle Security. But Pinnacle customers we spoke with say they were tricked into contracts they can't afford.

"I am very, very angry," said Colether Foster.

Colether Foster and Bertha Massie say a pinnacle salesman offered to waive a $149 installation/activation fee and discounted monthly service. Instead, they say $149 was withdrawn from their bank accounts and they are stuck in a three year contract for $49 a month - nearly double what they were quoted.

"I can't even pay my light bill now because they took out my bill money. I don't know how I'm gonna pay my light bill," said Foster.

"He made himself lovable and he let us believe that he was giving us a deal," said Massie.

On Wednesday, Dolton police detectives interviewed pinnacle customers after getting complaints.

Dolton police suspect more than 50 residents - many elderly and disabled - have signed pinnacle contracts without getting the waivers and discounts promised by the salesman.

"If they do come by and want to sell you something take their information check up on it first and then get back to them. Don't just give them your information on that day because we have so many people who are fast talkers and they have different agenda and they are not truthful," said Chief Robert Fox, Dolton Police Department.

Pinnacle Security is based out of Utah. The company's chief operating officer tells us they are investigating the conduct of a salesman in the Dolton area and reviewing recorded calls made during the sales between the customer and a pinnacle representative.

"If there was misrepresentation to the extend which I doubt in this case but we will have to listen to the calls where they did not know what they were buying then we have refunded in some cases," said a Pinnacle Security spokesman.

ABC7 met a Pinnacle customer who refused to give the salesman her bank account number. Hearing her neighbors' stories, she says she's grateful she held out.

"I'm very happy I didn't give them any money. I do not plan to give them any money. They can take me to court or whatever. I'm not going to give them a dime it's just fraud to me," said Linda Kellum.

The Better Business Bureau has over 600 complaints about Pinnacle nationwide. The Illinois attorney general has also had complaints about pinnacle and is investigating.

To file a complaint in Dolton call (708) 201-3212. To file a complaint in Illinois call the Illinois attorney general's office at (800) 386-5438 or visit the following Web site: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html.


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