1. Thanks for the ladder!
Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!
So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.
A rising star
2. Loved your trash
Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!
Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.
3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-To-It
Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.
Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!
The Tree Lover
4. Su casa es mi casa!
I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.
You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.
All the best,
5. Bad reflection on you
You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.
A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.
6. The telltale grass
Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.
Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.
Your Trip Advisor
7. Getting carried away
Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)
You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.
Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound
8. Dear BFF
Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.
If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!
9. Tag, you’re it!
Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as www.pleaserobme.com help me keep track of your whereabouts.
If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!
— Just Tagging Along
10. Thanks for the appointment
Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).
Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)
Tuesday, August 07 2012
1. Keep your home well-maintained on the outside.
Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that’s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window. To improve security, trim shrubs away from windows and widen front walks.
2. Install motion detector lights.
All sides of your house should be well-lit with motion-activated lighting, not just the front. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50 each, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place.
3. Store your valuables.
Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that’s where you’re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns. Tour each room and ask yourself: is there anything here that I can move to a safe deposit box? Installing a home safe ($150 to $500) that’s bolted to your basement slab is a good repository for items you don’t use on a daily basis.
4. Secure your data.
While you probably won’t be putting your home computer in a safe anytime soon, take steps to back up the personal information stored on it. Password protect your login screen, and always shut off your computer when not in use (you’ll save energy, too!) Don’t overlook irreplaceable items whose value may hard to quantify, like digital photos.
5. Prepare ahead of time in case the worst happens.
Tuesday, July 31 2012
Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.
You come home to an open front door, a ransacked house, and missing valuables. How did a burglar know you’d be gone? How did they get in?
1. Thanks for the ladder!
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-security/how-to-prevent-burglaries/#ixzz21jzxsdEr
Tuesday, July 03 2012
Ahhhh! At the end of a busy day, who doesn’t look forward to the surge of well being that comes with closing the door behind you, finally able to relax now that the world is at bay. Whether living in apartments or homes, everyone deserves that feeling of safety and security. Yet, like most everything else, real security has to be earned.
In the area of home security, we’ve come across both good and bad news. The good: the most recent FBI report shows that the number of burglaries is decreasing across the nation. The bad: burglaries are still responsible for 23% of property crimes, and total losses for those were estimated at more than $15,000,000,000. That’s billion. Fortunately, a few very simple actions can reduce the chances that any of our Evansvillehomes will become one of those statistics.
Close and Lock Doors and Windows
This may seem obvious, but the FBI reports that burglars don't use force in about a third of homes hit by burglaries. If a criminal can gain easy access through an open or unlocked window or door -- including the garage door -- his job becomes that much easier…and, from his point of view, that much safer (yes, burglars are safety-conscious!). Since most burglaries take place during the day, Evansville homes will be significantly more secure if their owners remember to check the windows and doors whenever they leave.
Opt For Deadbolt Locks
Most people don’t realize how flimsy most front door locks actually are. While no lock is impenetrable, deadbolts take longer to break. Since burglars look for the easiest way to enter homes, most will give up and find homes with more vulnerable locks. This seems a small detail, but thoughtful protection like this can be a selling point for Evansville homes whenever their owners decide to put them up for sale.
Install a Home Security System
Whether a simple burglar alarm or a complex system with motion sensors, window and door sensors, surveillance cameras and even 24/7 off-site monitoring, burglars who find that they are expected know they will be risking arrest. It’s why statistics show that just having a security sign out front can help deter break-ins. The cost of security systems can be partially offset by a discount (usually 5% - 10%) from your home’s insurer.
An important part of owning homes is protecting them -- and ‘the buck stops’ with you, the owner. I hope you will consider me a trusted resource forEvansville home maintenance and security-related referrals anytime!
Friday, June 03 2011
Warm weather means summer vacation. Before you pack up, follow these tips from Hydreon Corp. to ensure your possessions are still there when you get back.
1. Don’t post about your vacation on Facebook until after you get back. If that takes more discipline than you can muster, at the very least keep your location status off any public social networking pages. Many burglars use these sites to identify “safe” targets.
2. Make your home look lived in. A light on a timer is a great first step. Hydreon Corp. sells a sensing device, Fake TV, that mimics the glow of a TV to deter burglars.
3. Don’t leave obvious signs that the house is unoccupied. Stop the mail and paper, or have a neighbor take it in. Arrange for lawn care as needed. And don’t leave notes on the door! (“Dear thieves …”)
4. Make your home hard to get into. You need good locks. Your hidden outdoor key is probably not as cleverly hidden as you think it is. So, get to know your neighbors, and leave the key with them. Let them know you’ll be gone, and have them keep an eye out during your absence. If you have an alarm system, by all means use it. Amazingly, many people forget to set the alarm.
Conversely, don’t think that an alarm system makes you invulnerable. Burglars can still cause you a great deal of misery in a smash-and-grab robbery, leaving before the police can respond. Park a car in the driveway, but be sure to take out the garage door opener first.
5. Remove obvious temptations. Take a walk around your property and make sure you can’t see any easily pawned valuables through uncovered windows. Are there any ladders left out, or particularly easy or well-concealed access points?
6. Prepare for the worst. If your computer were stolen, what might the consequences be? For most of us, this would be dire indeed. So, back up and password protect. Make a quick run-through around the house with a video recorder, listing off the valuables. This could save a lot of hassle with the insurance company if you should need to file a claim.
7. Strike the right balance. Only you can make the trade-off between security measures and the burdens they impose. You may wish to place irreplaceable items in a secure location, such as a fireproof safe. This can include expensive jewelry, family photos, and financial records. Your insurance policy is up to date, right? Also, label your possessions with your name. An engraver is best, but a Sharpie is a lot better than nothing.
The good news is that only two out of a hundred homes will be burglarized in any given year. The bad news, and this is intended to jump-start you into a bit of action, is that for those two homes that are burglarized, the effects of the intrusion are often devastating. The average burglary costs $1,750, and a whole lot of peace of mind. Ask anyone who has had a break-in; they never look at their home quite the same again.
Security is a mindset, and need not be a great burden. Fortunately, your security measures do not need to be perfect. Most crime is opportunistic, and if the guy down the street failed to take a few simple precautions, his house (poor chap!) is more likely to draw the attention of the thief than yours. And frankly, there are no measures that can stop the most determined criminals. So, just take a few simple steps to improve your odds and peace of mind. It will make your getaway that much more relaxing.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/7-burglary-prevention-tips-your-summer-vacation/#ixzz1O3ttmOr8
Sunday, February 27 2011
Tuesday, August 10 2010
If you're planning to buy a house, rent a different apartment or relocate your family anytime soon, chances are you didn't think that moving could make you the victim of identity theft.
But during a move, homeowners and renters alike are particularly susceptible to identity theft -- a crime which is especially prevalent during the summer, since half of all moves in the United States take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
So in addition to packing and coordinating with the moving trucks, you also need to safeguard yourself from fraudsters.
"Regardless of what people say, you can't prevent ID theft. But you can be a lot more aware and take some strong precautions," says Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services for Intersections Inc., an identity protection company.
Schwartz provided a rundown of simple steps that you can take to minimize your risk of identity theft and maximize your safety and security before, during and after a move:
Top 10 Safety Steps for Homeowners and Renters on the Move
1. Write everything down
Before you move, make a list of all the personal mail you routinely receive. Tell your banks, financial institutions, creditors and others of the move and redirect all correspondence, statements and sensitive mailings to your new address.
Be sure to notify:
a. Retirement accounts/banking institutions/credit card companies
b. Utility companies (electric, gas, water, cable, etc.)
c. Insurance companies (medical, property, renters, fire and auto)
d. Local government agencies, federal agencies & the IRS
e. Healthcare providers
g. Publications to which you subscribe (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
h. Clubs you have memberships in
Alternatively, consider switching to online statements. According to the 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers with electronic statements needed less time to detect fraud and paid lower consumer costs ($116 vs. $274) than those monitoring paper statements.
2. Submit a change of address form to the U.S. Post Office
Once your form has been filed, double-check the confirmation from the Postal Service to make sure that they list your new address correctly. Your mail should start being delivered to your new residence within seven to 10 business days after you submit a change-of-address filing.
3. Shred all sensitive documents that you won't take with you
Don't leave behind any paperwork, including credit card offers, that con artists can use if they go through your trash. Instead shred them yourself. A good shredder will cost just $50 or so.
4. Thoroughly research your moving company
Mover fraud is on the rise nationwide. To thwart this crime, properly investigate local moving companies by getting recommendations from trustworthy friends, family members, and real estate agents. Also, check a mover's rating with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, only pick a mover that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and that has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDDOT) number. The most reputable ones will supply you this information on request.
5. Remain present during the entire move
This may not always be possible, but just being there with the movers could help deter potential identity theft. Plus, you'll get to oversee any remaining packing or moving activities to make sure things are being handled properly.
6. Transport important physical documents properly
Transfer all sensitive documents – like wills, insurance policies, stock certificates or bonds – to a safe and secure place, such as a locked box, and keep these items with you personally during the move; don't hand them off to your moving company. You can also transfer sensitive documents to an online secure vault.
7. Lock down your computer
Don't make the mistake of leaving your computers (desktops and laptops included) readily accessible to your movers. Instead, secure those items before the movers even arrive. Take all computers, hard drives and other external storage devices with you during the move.
During his last move, "I packed my computers myself and they went in my car," says Schwartz, adding, "That's not a box you want to go with the mover."
8. Monitor bank and credit card statements
After your move, watch for unexplained charges or suspicious activity on your debit and credit cards. But also be aware that credit-related fraud "accounts for only about one-third of identity theft," Schwartz says. Non-credit related problems actually make up the bulk of problems, with thieves stealing your personal information in order to open new cell phones or bank accounts, establish utility services, or even get payday loans and fake driver's licenses in your name.
9. Verify all mail, post-move
Use your previously-created checklist to make sure that everyone you notified about your move has, in fact, started sending your mail to your new address. If something is missing, follow up immediately to make sure mail isn't still being routed to your old address.
10. Create a secure zone
After your move, even though there may be loads of boxes and furniture everywhere, carve out a secure zone – preferably one that's off-limits to movers and others. This is where you'll store computer items, check your data files or do personal financial record-keeping, like balancing your checkbook or reviewing credit card statements.
Regardless of whether you're relocating across town or clear across the country, a move can be hectic and stressful. But by taking some or all of the steps above, you'll help ensure that one important thing – your identity – doesn't get overlooked during your busy transition.