Turn on the news today and it seems there are new stories of home burglaries or Internet breaches. It’s time you take some precautions to keep your home and identity safe. We’ve put together some tips to hopefully help secure your house and identity.
For your home, installing a security system may be the answer, but the cost associated may not fit into your budget. There are other ways to make your home more secure. Adding a security screen to your front door, installing cameras that you can monitor yourself – there is even a doorbell camera you can monitor from anywhere on your smartphone! Installing motion sensor and/or timer lighting are just a few options for you.
Go through your house and gauge how easy it would be for someone to break in. Do you lock the door from the garage to the house? Are your window locks secured? Can your slider door be pried open? Do you lock the gate to your back yard? A quick survey of your home and some simple security additions won’t take much time or money but can assist in deterring a burglar from breaking in. If you are ready to do it yourself, there are many tips you can find online to assist you!
Do you have a dog that likes to bark? Although excessive barking is annoying, our furry friends do a great job of calling attention to sounds of someone approaching or possibly trying to gain access to your home. Personally, we have a Chihuahua, and he definitely knows before we do if someone is approaching our front door and alerts us.
Start a neighborhood watch! Get to know your neighbors, if you don’t already, banding together to keep a watchful eye on the community you live in. Being familiar with your neighbors, their visitor’s vehicles can help you see if someone just doesn’t belong there and may be up to no good. You can contact your local police department to get more information on starting a watch in your neighborhood and for more tips on keeping your neighborhood safe.
Security doesn’t just apply to your home. When going online there are many predators out there ready to steal your information!
Keep your personal information private – we all belong to social networking sites, but be wary of what you share online. For instance, never post that you will be out of town – that just boasts of an empty home, ripe for burglarizing. This precaution should be taken even when you are posting to your “friends”, how well do you really know all the people on your friend list? Did you accept any friend requests from people you have a mere acquaintance or perhaps an old friend from high school? Better to be safe than sorry!
Another common trick used by identity thieves online to gain your personal information is Phishing. This involves emails that appear to be from legitimate companies asking you to confirm personal information such as bank account numbers, passwords, birth dates, addresses, etc. Never reply to these with your personal information or link to their site to complete an online form. Companies will not contact you in this way. Instead, if this is a company you have business with, you may contact them directly with a number found on a statement you have previously received and ask if they in fact sent this out. This has happened to me personally and I was immediately connected to the fraud department where I was asked to send the email I had received for them to further investigate.
Keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts – you can set up alerts on your account so you will be notified regarding any purchases on your account over a certain dollar amount, personally I have my debit card set to send text notifications to my cell for any purchases over $0.00. It may seem as excessive, but there have been cases where criminals start with amounts under $20 to test stolen card information out before making large purchases. Check with you bank and credit card companies regarding their policies for fraudulent charges.
There are so many ways to protect yourself online, virus software for your computer, using strong passwords, shopping only at safe/verified websites, choosing an email provider with strong anti-spam filtering capability and only providing your email address to people or groups you know – if using your email online, see if there is an “opt out” option of allowing your address to be shared. The world wide web is a fun place to surf, but just like the ocean, there are sharks we must be wary of!
For home and online safety being aware and conscious of the dangers out there will make you better prepared to dealing with many safety concerns. Constant vigilance and stay safe my friend! +