Be Careful about False Alarms At Home

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

We are all familiar with the boy who cried wolf. The protagonist of the fable is a bored shepherd boy who entertained himself by calling out “Wolf!” Nearby villagers who came to his rescue found that the alarms were false and that they had wasted their time. When the boy was actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers did not believe his cries for help and the wolf ate the flock (and in some versions the boy).

Many, if not all of us are guilty of setting off our alarms accidentally. Sometimes we open a door or window that sets it off, other times we mess up the secret code. The result of this mishap is usually a very loud siren and the attention of your neighbors. If you don’t call to cancel in time, then it results in law enforcement showing up.

To give you an idea of how pervasive the problem is, in New Haven Connecticut, 10,000 to 12,000 burglar alarms go off in New Haven every year. Of those alarms, 96% are false. In many counties, towns, cities and states there are laws and ordinances that impose a fine for false alarms.

Not only does a false alarm cause the “boy who cried wolf” effect, it also saps law enforcement resources.

I am just as guilty as anyone of a false alarm. But I’ve never had law enforcement show to my home as a result.

1. Have your service provider set up your alarm system to call your mobile phone first, then your home phone second. If you don’t answer the phone then they will call the police.

2. Program your mobile phone with your alarm service provider’s number and call them the second you falsely set off your alarm. Memorize your PIN so you aren’t fumbling for it.

3. Don’t carry your PIN in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen your address and alarm PIN is in the hands of a stranger.

4. Whenever you are setting up any access for anyone to enter your home while you are gone, your risks for false alarms go up dramatically. Provide specific hands on instruction on how to disable and reset the alarm. Telling someone over the phone how to do it is often insufficient.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert discussing home security on TBS Movie and a Makeover

Robert Siciliano is a personal security and identity theft expert for Home Security Source. (Disclosures)

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