Buying and Selling Used Home Security Systems

With add-on purchases, installation fees, maintenance and more, home security systems can become very expensive, even DIY options. Given the fact that over a third of adults in the U.S. have had a package stolen from their porch (or know someone who has), there are more homeowners starting to buy or sell used security gear to protect their homes. However, there are dangers to buying or selling used security devices, like used security cameras, in an effort to save money.

The Risks of Selling Your Home Security Gear

There are many privacy and financial risks associated with selling your security gear, especially for used security cameras. In the event that you sell your camera(s) and forget to cancel your account with your security system provider, you may receive updates on your smartphone about camera activity and may continue to be charged by your provider. You may also still have access to live security camera footage which poses a serious privacy threat to the new owner of those cameras.

How to Avoid Risks When Reselling

The best way to avoid these risks is to completely cancel your subscription with your security provider before selling your equipment. You can take it a step further by performing a factory reset on your security cameras and other devices before you cancel your subscription, which will wipe your data before it’s used by someone else.

The Risks of Buying Used Home Security Gear

Home security equipment is network-based, which means there’s always a possibility that your security system can be hacked and infected with malware (i.e., viruses, trojans, ransomware, etc.) If you purchase used security gear, you run the risk of buying devices that are already infected with malware, which could affect every device connected to your home security system. Another risk of purchasing used security cameras is that the previous owner could still have access to camera footage. This means they have full access to activity within your home whether they want it or not, and you’ll have no way of knowing if they’re accessing the cameras. In addition, you always take the risk of buying defective devices. In the case that the seller wasn’t transparent about the functionality of the devices, you may install the equipment at home without realizing that it doesn’t work. In some cases, your seller’s personal accounts may still be hooked up to the security devices you purchased from them, like an Amazon or Spotify account.

How to Avoid Risks When Buying Used Home Security Gear

There are several steps you can take to infected with malware. First, contact your new security system provider to update the software on your devices. Next, reset all passwords to access the account, including the provider smartphone app if necessary. Once your passwords are reset, enable dual-factor authentication on all accounts for enhanced security on your used security system. If you’re still concerned about privacy on your second-hand gear, you should always contact the manufacturer for assistance. They should be able to fill you in on unlinking devices from previous owners.

The Bottom Line

While the idea of buying or selling used security equipment may seem like a great idea, it poses some serious security and privacy risks for both parties. The seller and buyer should take the necessary steps to protect themselves and ensure a smooth transition of equipment. Sellers should completely cancel their account and restore devices back to factory settings (if you deem it necessary) while buyers should reset passwords, enable two-factor authentication and contact the manufacturer with further questions about unlinking devices.