19 Jun Going On Vacation Protect Your Identity and Home From Burglars!
You may not realize but there are over 2.15 million burglaries that take place annually in the US with most of them happening in the months of July and August. Of that 2.15 million 65% are residential burglaries. Burglars are not just looking for your jewelery, electronics and cash. These days they look for ways to get your personal information from your documents and home computer. Stealing your identity and reselling it is very profitable.
According to the Federal Trade Commission there are more than 9 million victims of identity theft annually. Losses to credit cards average $7,000 and while victims are normally only responsible for the first $50.00 you may end up spending several hundred dollars and many days repairing your good name and damage to your credit report.
10 Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself from Burglars While You Are On Vacation:
- Don’t announce on Facebook that you will be gone. I’m not saying that one of your friends or family will be looking to break into your home and steal your property or identity. Just beware that a friend of a friend or an acquaintance could be looking for an easy target.
- Keep your home well lit. Put indoor lights on a timer. Mount outside lights on your house and outbuildings so that they are out of reach.
- Make if noisy to break into your home. Invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective system transmit back to an outside service, which will alert police, fire or other emergency services. If you install an alarm system don’t forget to call your homeowner’s or renters insurance agent. Many company’s give discounts up to 20 percent off your premium.
- Don’t leave Internet and computer passwords laying on your workstation or in plain sight on your desk or taped to a wall. Why make it easy for someone to log right into your on-line banking and credit cards.
- Turn off your computer and disconnect it from the Internet. If you save personal information on your computer you do not want a hacker at work while you are on vacation.
- Keep valuables in a secure place. When possible, do not leave personal documents in your home office or desk. Its the first place someone will look for your social security number, bank numbers, date of birth etc. Keep important documents and expensive jewelry and other items in a safety deposit box. You can also scan your important documents, shred them and store them in the cloud. You do not want them to be found easily.
- Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office. Don’t forget to stop newspaper deliveries and ask a neighbor to pick-up circulars for you.
- Leave blinds or curtains open in their usual position. This will make it appear that you are at home.
- Ask a neighbor for help. Ask a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your home while you are away. Make arrangements for your lawn to be mowed and have your garden watered.
- Make it hard to break in your home. Dead bolt doors and windows. Make sure your outside doors and frames are made of metal or solid hardwood. Make sure you lock up your tool shed, you don’t want to supply the burglar tools to break into your home.
Coverage for identity theft is sometimes included as part of your homeowners or renters insurance policy, but it varies by insurance company. Give your agent a call and check if you have this coverage or if you can add it by endorsement. You may also be able to buy a stand alone identity theft policy. Call your insurance agent and he or she should be able to help your find protection. Identity theft coverage will provide you with reimbursement for expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailings costs and sometimes attorney fees. Some companies even offer resolution or restoration services that will guide you in the process of recovering your identity.
Your homeowners and renters insurance policy provide coverage for theft or personal possessions and damage to your home caused by the break-in. Keep an inventory of your home possessions off site so you can itemize what has been stolen.
Last but not least check your credit card balances and charges on-line while your are away. The sooner your catch unauthorized charges the quicker you can stop them. Have more than one credit card with you on your trip in case you have to cut the current card off because of identity theft.
Enjoy your vacation!