10 Huge Home Security Mistakes

Though it would be nice to think that you can fix something if you make a mistake, there are some where there is just no going back. And in some cases, these mistakes can be tragic. Here are some of the biggest mistakes that people make with their home security:

  1. Leaving Doors Unlocked – It only takes two seconds to lock your door. It should be a habit. It doesn’t matter if you are just gardening in the backyard or running to the store for 5 minutes in the middle of the afternoon, lock the door. Often, a burglar rings the doorbell. If there is no answer, they jiggle the knob. If the door opens, he lets himself in and starts ransacking the place. They can do the same thing with windows.
  2. Not Setting Alarms – You shouldn’t assume that a break in only occurs when you are gone. A guy high on crack won’t care if you are home or not. So, keep your alarm on when you are home, and only disable it when you have to go out momentarily.
  3. Being Too Cheap – Don’t settle for a cheap lock. Locks can be easily picked by using what’s called a “bump key”. Remember, you get what you pay for. So, spend the cash on a good lock. There is a dramatic difference between a lock that costs $20 and one that costs $60.
  4. Keeping a Ladder in the Yard – Keeping a ladder in your yard is almost the exact same thing as leaving your door right open with a “Welcome Burglar” sign on your home. A bad guy can easily use that ladder to get into your home. At least lock up the ladder.
  5. Hiding Keys – Even the dumbest criminals know that people hide house keys under fake rocks, flower pots, and welcome mats. Instead, make the small investment into a keyless lock. Or buy a lock box.
  6. Putting Your Valuables on Display – Use caution when you display expensive items. This is especially the case if you can see them from the window. If you can’t move these items, make sure to keep the shades down.
  7. Keeping Your Garage Unlocked – Don’t just leave your garage open or unlocked. There is a lot of valuable stuff in there, and a burglar might even gain access to your house via the garage.
  8. Not Using Lights at Night – A dark yard or home is a sign that no one is home. In other words, the perfect time for a thief to get into your house. So, set up timed and motion sensitive lighting on the exterior and interior of the home. Also, leave a radio or television on when you are gone.
  9. Leaving Deliveries Out or Not Cleaning the Yard – A sure sign that you are gone, and your home is open for burglars, is a pile of mail or newspapers. It’s also a sign if your lawn is overgrown. So, ask someone to grab your mail, park in your driveway and mow your lawn when you are on vacation.
  10. Displaying Their Good Trash – If you see a neighbor place a large Sony box with a television printed on it or a Dell cardboard box on the curb, you can easily deduce that they just got high end electronics. Robbers know this, and they know that something very valuable is in the home they can sell for drugs.

Bonus…#11…Putting their Life on Social Media – Do not post on social media when you are on a trip. Save it for when you are home. Why? Because burglars are looking for those posts, too.

Protect Your Company with This Social Media Security Advice

Social media is an excellent tool for small businesses, yet, the use of social media by small business staff can definitely put the company in danger. Many small business owners and managers don’t realize this.

Recently, I was talking to employees of a credit union about what to do in a robbery. Before this presentation, police officers had staged a robbery in the same credit union. The fake robbery was so real, some of the tellers were brought to tears, thinking they were really getting robbed.

After they were filled in on what was happening, everyone on the team discussed it. One of the most telling moments is when one of the tellers shared her story. During the mock robbery, one of the “robbers” handed a teller a note. It said this: “Your husband works at Pine Street Motors. We kidnapped him this morning. He is being held at another location. If you hit the alarm and notify police, he’s going to be killed.”

How did the bad guys know that her husband worked at Pine Street Motors? They simply looked online. They found the name of the bank, and then found out that the teller was listed as working at the bank on social media. Her social media account was connected to her husband’s, and his account said that he worked at Pine Street Motors.

Yes, it was that easy.

Here are some tips for social media that you might want to share with your staff:

Don’t Tell the Internet Where You Work

Tell employees that it’s not a good idea to share too many details about their work on social media pages. Though you can’t stop them from adding their employer on Facebook, you can tell them how this information can be used against them and the company. Make sure that they understand that this information could backfire and harm everyone involved.

Teach Your Staff How to Use Privacy Settings

You should also teach staff how to manage their social media privacy settings. Ideally, they should have maximum protection on every account. The default settings are lacking, and those put them at risk for hacking. You should also tell them that even the highest settings that social media sites have won’t keep everyone out. However, this level of protection is better than nothing.

Create a Workplace Policy for Social Media Use

Set up a policy in your workplace for social media use. Make sure this policy covers what employees associated with your company can say and what is totally prohibited.

Stop Banning the Use of Social Media in the Office

The moment you ban the use of social media at work, that’s the moment that someone will sneak around and do it anyway. This, of course, leads to dangerous things, as they can try getting around the firewall and other things that make your network vulnerable.

Train Your IT Team

 Finally, make sure that your IT team is up to date on the latest ways to combat online-security issues. These teams must also know about the security risks that your business faces due to social media.

Additionally, the policy for employee social media use should be examined and updated quite regularly, and make sure to enforce it, too. Invest in anti-virus protection and make sure that all operating systems and browsers are always kept up to date when updates become available.

15 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

You and your family aren’t the only ones who love the holidays; burglars love them, too. Not only do they know that it gets dark earlier after the time change in November, they also know that you have a lot of newly purchased gifts in your home. It is the perfect storm.

Most homeowners take extra steps around the holiday season to protect their homes. For instance, they often take precautions with Christmas lights or candles as to not start a fire. However, most don’t take any extra security measures to prevent a home robbery. Yes, fire protection is very important, but your home is much more likely to be robbed than to go up in flames. So, here are 15 tips that you can use during this upcoming holiday season:

  1. Always keep your doors locked. This is true even in the daylight and even when you are home.
  2. Always keep your windows locked, even those that are on the second floor. Burglars can and do climb.
  3. Use high quality locks and door reinforcements.
  4. Keep all of your blinds and curtains closed. This keeps your valuables away from prying eyes.
  5. Install security film on all of your windows. These help to strengthen them and help them to hold up to things like crow bars, rocks and baseball bats.
  6. Try to make your home look “lived-in” even if you aren’t home. One way to do this is with home automation technology. These systems do things like turn on/off lights automatically, so that it looks like someone is there.
  7. Bring in your mail and newspaper as soon as they are delivered.
  8. Put a large dog bowl outside near your door. Try to make it look as realistic as possible with water inside it. Also, place a thick leash and chewed up dog toys around.
  9. Take a pair of worn men’s work boots and place them by the door. This makes it less likely that a burglar will enter because they don’t want to confront a man they can’t overpower.
  10. Clear out shrubbery around entry points. These are good hiding places for burglars.
  11. Do a Google news search with the name of your city, state, and the phrase “door kicked in.” What do you see? Likely several cases of the door getting kicked into people in your area. Use door reinforcement products.
  12. If you have a garage, use it to pack and unpack gifts into your car. If you do it outdoors, a burglar might be watching.
  13. Don’t advertise your gift purchases on your social media pages. Thieves are notorious for using social media to find victims.
  14. Invest in a security system for your home. Choose one that offers a view of what is happening in your home. You can access this via computer, tablet, or smart phone.
  15. If you park your car outside, place a pair of large men’s gloves in it. Most burglars won’t go into a house if they believe a large man lives there.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.