Posts

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.

5 Home holiday security myths

It happens every 15 seconds in America: a burglary, says the FBI’s 2010 Crime Clock Statistics. Don’t fall for the following myths.

Myth 1: “I can’t afford an alarm system.”

2HThere are security systems for every budget. You can even get monitoring from an alarm company for just $9.95 a month—easy money if you give up a little soda and chips every month.

Myth 2: Never tell anyone when you go away on trips.

Someone should know when you’re away—such as a trusted family member, friend or neighbor, to keep watch of your home. Yes, don’t reveal your travel plans on social media and to someone you just met in the slow moving line at the grocery store. But a trusted person should know your travel agenda.

Myth 3: Hide a spare key under the door mat, fake (or real) rock or flower pot.

This advice went out with the dinosaurs. The first place a burglar will look is under these items. Leave the key with a trusted person, or better yet, go keyless:

There are no more keys to lose, hide, carry or forget, so you can secure your home while you run or walk around the neighborhood.

I run and used to have to wear a small runner’s pouch just to keep my house key on my person, but not anymore. Schlage’s Touchscreen Deadbolt is the best keyless lock out there. It’s a motorized bolt that automatically locks and unlocks when a four-digit user code is entered, and its lock-and-leave functionality requires only one touch to instantly safeguard the home.

Myth 4: “Intruders wouldn’t be interested in my home.”

Many people who’ve been burglarized thought their neighborhood was too safe for such a crime. What’s to stop a robber from a “bad neighborhood” from venturing into your neighborhood? A burglar may be drawn to what seems like an idyllic neighborhood because he figures there will be few home security systems, not to mention plenty of unlocked doors and windows.

Myth 5: “I don’t have anything of value.”

A burglar will grab anything that’s easy to grab and run off with, then sell on the street or eBay. Portable electronic gadgets may be just what the thief is looking for.

Robert Siciliano home security expert to Schlage discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.

Protect From Holiday Phishing Shipping Scams

A common holiday shipping phishing scam is a phony notice from UPS, saying you have a package and need to fill out an attached form to get it delivered. The form may ask for personal or financial details that will go straight into the hands of the cyberscammer. Often the email asks to download a label and the risk there may be downloading a virus.

Scammers are sending emails that look like they are coming from the United States Postal Office, Fed Ex, UPS, DHL, you name it. The email may state in the subject line there is a problem with delivery and reference a code.

In these emails the scammers are trying various ruses to get you to either download a virus or cough up names, addresses, credit card, bank info and even usernames and passwords.

The scams work because at this time of the year millions of people are getting stuff in the mail and expecting it. Scammers know there is a better chance that you will open an email, click a link, or even make a phone call in response to an official looking communication from a phish email.

It’s pretty simple not to get scammed here. Realize right now that none of these organizations will send you an email requesting more information from you or for you to download something.  And if you are currently engaged in shipping or receiving packages, go through the normal channels you usually do to make contact. Log into your accounts or go to the existing emails you may have to communicate.

Ultimately just hit delete.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.