Wednesday 18 October 2017

Phonewatch customers at risk as system gives thieves '30 seconds to disable alarm' - claim

Thieves can disable the alarm system in 30 seconds, customers claim
Thieves can disable the alarm system in 30 seconds, customers claim

David Kearns

Phonewatch customers are at risk due to a feature that allows burglars to disable their systems before the alarm can be raised, it has been claimed.

RTE’s Liveline programme was told on Monday that devious thieves are, literally, tearing the systems off the walls of their victims homes, thereby cutting the connection to the service’s central control hub.

They are allegedly taking advantage of a feature in older systems that do not include a fail-safe that prevents the signal from being disconnected.

Callers into RTE’s Liveline today complained about the issue, including one whose parents’ home had been robbed.

“You’ve 30 seconds to put your code in to shut down the alarm, this means that burglars have 30 seconds to rip your alarm off the wall,” said the caller.

“The representative told my parents that they needed to upgrade to a newer model.”

The latest Phonewatch systems are fitted differently and so cannot be as easily torn down.

In addition, even if they are taken off the wall, this does not prevent the intruder signal going through to the Phonewatch hub warning of a break in.

Customers are complaining that the older Eircom Phonewatch alarms can be torn off the wall to disable the system
Customers are complaining that the older Eircom Phonewatch alarms can be torn off the wall to disable the system

A spokesperson for Phonewatch told independent.ie that for security reasons it “not comment on any aspect of [its] technology, systems or operations”.

“If any of our customers have enquiries in relation to any aspect of [the] PhoneWatch service they should call customer service directly.”

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