Most people are excited about the holiday season because they get to spend time with their family and friends and they get to enjoy the giving by exchanging presents. They do not think about the other people that look at the holidays as the prime time to steal. First of all, the number of burglaries goes up because it is darker for a longer period of time in the winter, so there is more time where criminals are under the cover of darkness. In addition, all of the gifts that are purchased at this time of the year are simply irresistible to thieves. One of the ways criminals are finding their victims these days is by scouring social media websites. They watch for people posting statuses that tell the whole world that their house is going to be unoccupied for a lengthy period of time. People announce that they are going on vacation to all of their friends, but sometimes people who are not friends are looking in on their activities, just waiting for the opportunity to strike. In addition, some people like to brag about the latest technological device they purchased on these sites, which simply allows potential burglars to shop before they break in. They will already know what they are looking for when they get inside. As such, it is best to keep vacation information and new purchases behind the scenes when posting on social sites that are not as secure as most people believe. Another way people become victims during the holidays is by giving away their money to fake charities. Unscrupulous people take advantage of the giving nature of the holidays by coming up with sympathetic-sounding organizations that tug at the heartstrings of generous people. It can be hard to tell the difference between a legitimate charity and one that is a scam, so it’s best to be careful when unknown people ask for money. Some other tips for holiday security are: • Always arm your home security system, even if you are home. You never know when someone might try to get in. • Only give money to charities that have solid reputations. Do your research before donating. • Make your house look occupied at all times, particularly if you are going to be gone for several days or longer. • Do not keep your holiday gifts in plain sight of windows. • Break down and cut up boxes after you open your presents so you don’t advertise your new belongings by putting them out on the curb for the trash. • If you do not have a home security system installed, consider getting one now. The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year, but if you get robbed, it will no longer be the joyous time it should be. Be vigilant and take extra steps to be safe and secure and your holidays will continue to be special.
Archive for December, 2011
As you age, the risks of becoming the victim of a violent crime steadily decrease; however, senior citizens must still take steps to stay safe in their homes because criminals do not discriminate when it comes to breaking into houses. In addition, older people are at an increased risk at falling prey to financial scams and fraud. These kinds of crimes can be just as harmful as violent crimes, particularly if enough money is stolen to destroy you financially. If you are a senior citizen, or if you are a family member of one, you must take care to ensure the house is a secure as possible. First, you need to physically secure your home. For seniors, one of the best ways to do this is to have a home security system installed. Be sure to choose one that includes off-site, third-party monitoring so that emergency personnel can be summoned at the first hint of danger. It is also beneficial to purchase a panic alarm that you wear around your neck that can trigger the alarm if you are unable to get to the control panel. Motion-activated lighting should be installed around the outside of your house to take away the cover of darkness. These systems can also be purchased at any home security system company. Always trim your bushes and trees to keep from giving would-be burglars hiding places. If you have sliding glass doors, always keep a rod in the track to prevent the doors from opening. Finally, install strong locks on all windows and doors and be sure to engage the locks at all times. Next, do not hide a spare key anywhere outside of your home. While it might be handy for you to have a spare key in case you lock yourself out, criminals know every hiding place imaginable, particularly professional thieves and they will search everywhere they can think of before giving up. The best solution is to give a spare key to a neighbor you trust or you can get a lock box that you can attach to your door that will hold your key. It is essentially a safe that will allow access only to people who know the code. A lock box is especially helpful for seniors because if they are incapacitated for any reason in the house, family members can give the code to emergency personnel to get into the house quickly. Finally, do not give any of your personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know. Sales people never need this information for any reason. If a salesperson wants to come to your house to show you a product, have a friend with you when he comes. Anybody who is trying to force you into buying an item or giving him your information is likely trying to scam you. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, so walk away. As a senior, you want to be as independent as possible, but your age puts you at certain natural disadvantages; however, by following some basic common sense steps, you can make your home, and your life, a lot safer.