Criminals Are Smarter Than You

Fake Security: Criminals Are Smarter Than You Think

People are often duped into buying counterfeit products they think are real. A look at the top-10 list of fakes shows that many fakes can be deadly. Would you feel comfortable driving down the highway at 75 mph if you knew that your tires or some components of your airbag or braking system were cheaply made fakes that could fail at any time? Aerospace fakes are also on the most-popular list. How do you feel about flying in a plane that has inferior fake parts in its engines, wings or stabilizers?


Fake pharmaceuticals are also popular with counterfeiters, and pharmacists are unable to know for certain if what they’re selling is a real medication or something useless at best or fatal at worst.

As a savvy consumer, you wouldn’t knowingly spend money on counterfeit junk, right? Most times, the fakes are so cheaply made, anyone can spot them. And experts can always tell the difference, usually at a glance.

Why, then, do so many people think they’re getting away with something when they knowingly buy fake home security items? Consumers can be forgiven when they unwittingly buy counterfeit items, thinking they’re buying the real thing. However, when it comes to yard signs, window decals, or surveillance cameras, many consumers spend money on items sold at reputable stores, yet clearly marketed and labeled as fakes. Let’s look at a few of these items.

Fake Yard Signs

Most times, when a company installs a home security system, they’ll put a sign on the front lawn, which serves two purposes: it lets criminals know that they should look elsewhere for a home to rob, and it advertises the security company to the neighborhood. Consumers recognized long ago that they could eliminate the costlier side of home security—the actual security part—by simply putting a sign in the front lawn. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and burglars aren’t too smart, so the sign will certainly fool them. Is that true? Most experts say no.


Fake Yard Signs

Signs can be purchased online or from big-box home stores. Prices at around $10 for a generic sign that is so obviously not from a reputable security company you’d be better off with nothing. Why? Because when a burglar sees a cheesy home surveillance sign in front of someone’s home, there’s one thing they know for certain: there is no security system in that home. Why else would someone use a fake sign? It turns out that the sign purchased to deter burglars is actually an invitation to break in.

Yard signs can run as high as $100—some bearing the names of real companies such as Brinks, First Alert, and ADT—and they may look better than the inexpensive models. But here’s the problem with all those store-bought signs: just as a jeweler can instantly spot a fake Rolex, an experienced thief can just as easily spot a fake security sign.

Fake Window Decals

All of the above information about fake signs also applies to window decals. In fact, the pricier lawn signs sold at most online and big-box retailers are packaged with several window decals. But if a criminal is able to spot a fake sign, they’ll know the decals are fake, too.

The bottom line is this: Fake home security signs and decals will probably not deter most criminals and, in fact, may announce with certainty that the home has no security at all.

Fake Security Cameras

If you want a fake security camera that looks real, you’ll have to spend several hundred dollars. In fact, the two most expensive fake security cameras on the website of a very popular online retailer cost $315 and $999. Both fakes have one thing in common: in their list of features, they both advertise that they have blinking lights. The blinking lights are designed to show a burglar that the cameras are real and are working. The problem is that real cameras with night vision may have a light that blinks when lighting is poor, so the tiny LEDs may blink from dusk till dawn. The fakes will blink all day and all night. If a criminal is checking out a home during the day, and spots a security camera with a blinking light, the criminal can be pretty sure of two things: 1) the camera is a fake, and 2) the home has no security system.

Besides the flashing light, here are a few other ways an experienced burglar will be able to spot a fake surveillance camera:

  • Security Camera Covers – Real security cameras have water-proof aluminum covers. The fake cameras usually have cheap plastic covers. Seasoned criminals can spot the difference a mile away.
  • Camera Location – Consumers purchasing fake cameras know that they are shoddily made using cheap materials. Consequently, they won’t last long under harsh conditions such as blazing summer sun, sub-zero cold, snow, rain, hail, and wind. Smart consumers place the cameras in places where they’ll be protected by placing them under eaves or ceilings. Real cameras are designed to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. A criminal seeing an outdoor camera exposed to the elements can assume it’s real.
  • Wires – At one time, the fakes could be spotted because they didn’t have wires that apparently went from the camera into the home. Recognizing this flaw, fake camera manufacturers began including wires to give the cameras a more authentic look. The problem is, most surveillance cameras today are wireless. If burglars see a newer camera with a big fat wire coming off of it, they’ll probably assume it’s fake and they’ll probably be right.
  • Markings – People who buy fake cameras must assume that criminals don’t have phones. A real camera will usually have the name or logo of the manufacturer on the outside, probably on the cover. All a criminal need do is Google the name and, if it’s a real company, it’s probably a real camera. If it’s a fake name, no question it’s a fake camera. Also, if there’s no name, which is more than likely on cheap counterfeits, it’s also a guaranteed fake.
  • Motion Tracking – It turns out, the fakes are overachievers in this department. They have motion sensors that start rotating the camera when someone walks by. In reality, a motion-sensing camera will simply turn on when someone walks by, recording the surroundings with a wide field of view. Criminals who see a camera moving around will know it’s a fake.

Since we’re talking about fakes, one more area is worth mentioning. Home security sales scams is a booming business. If a door-to-door salesman comes to your home selling security systems, he’s probably a fake. Or, best-case scenario, he’s a real salesman selling junk. Similarly, criminals who see the security sign on your lawn come to the door claiming to be from that company, and either ask you to pay for upgrades or want you to sign a new contract, which is for a completely different company, they’re fakes.

If you want to avoid spending money on products and services that do nothing to actually protect you, your loved ones, and all your belongings, contact the security professionals at Connect Security for a free quote.