Concerns about the security of your home and loved ones can be especially high during the holidays. With increased risk of thefts and burglaries, it is important to employ the proper security methods to put your mind at ease. Here are a few ways you can secure your home and protect your assets.
By completing this assessment, you can recognize any threats that may not be detected by even the best alarm system. Some things to consider include who may have access to your home, how prepared you are for a natural disaster or civil emergency, and whether there is any online or public record information that could possibly compromise your security.
A home security system, complete with a backup power source, is a crucial component to protect your property. If you own any vacation homes, be sure to secure and monitor those as well.
If a security system came with your home, you may need to reevaluate how it suits your needs. If needed, invest in upgrades or a whole new system. Assess your risk points and go from there, but be sure that it is user-friendly as well, so that your family members can access and easily operate it.
Annual follow-ups with your security provider are recommended. Update contacts, information and make any adjustments as necessary.
You should be prepared for a variety of emergency situations. While most commonly associated with natural disasters, emergency plans can also be implemented for other situations, such as home invasion, storm evacuations, and other crises.
In case of emergency, be sure to have secure locks and the proper emergency supplies. In the event of your home security being compromised, you should have a rapid response plan. Prepare a “grab-and-go” packed with essentials, including communication tools and meeting information.
Aside from having these plans in place, you will want to rehearse with all family members so that they know and understand their role in keeping everyone safe. Try to practice these at least once a year so that the appropriate steps stay fresh in their minds.
Your biggest threat could be someone you know, who knows your residence and schedule. These people can include domestic staff such as housekeepers or child care providers. Be sure to follow best practices before hiring home employees.
For prospective domestic employees, be sure to do a professional background check – do not rely on a simple Google search. Ask trusted friends or an attorney to recommend a private investigator or third-party service that can pull up critical information using the candidate’s name and date of birth. If you are using a placement agency, be sure their background checks are comprehensive and legitimate.
When hiring, include a pre-employment application which authorizes criminal and credit checks, and always check references and conduct in-person interviews with potential candidates.
Firm employment agreements are important and can protect your security during (and after) a domestic employee’s service. Work with an attorney to draft a secure contract that encompasses, and include the following:
While there’s no obligation, be prepared to provide severance pay upon departure of a terminated employee. Thoughtful treatment at termination can go a long way toward preventing a disgruntled former employee from retribution.
Restrict Access To Bank Accounts
Despite the fact that most domestic employees often need money for home-related expenses, you should never give an employee your personal ATM car or password. Use a separate account for household expenses and designate the employee as an authorized cardholder, or consider using prepaid debit cards, which can put a limit to the amount spent. Both options allow limited access to your personal accounts while allowing you to track spending.
Remember that anyone who has access to your property can present a security risk. This includes any building contractors, landscapers, electricians, and the like. Before proceeding with any services, speak with the principal of the company and find out if they are licensed and insured, whether they do background credit and criminal checks and periodic drug testing on employees, and ask for a roster of people who will be at the property on a regular basis. If any information seems questionable to you, look for services elsewhere.
Despite your efforts to keep your personal information private, there is information about you that is publicly available. One piece of information about you may seem harmless, but when it is combined with other public information, it can be used to gain insight about you (ex. income, properties) which may attract criminals. Luckily, there are ways you can control your public presence.
Responsible Online Behavior
Enlisting an online security consultant should be the first step. They will evaluate your public “footprint” by doing a thorough search of the Internet and present you with the results. From there, you can work together to assess and manage any and all threats. Ensure that the whole family is on board, especially children who are active on social media. Everyone should understand how to engage in responsible online behavior.
Public Institutions, Private Information
Beware of whom you share your information. Your information can still end up online through reputable third parties (ex. charities, schools, civic groups). These public entities often mean well, but most lack strict cyber security systems and protocols to keep your information secure.
If you are going to make a major donation or real estate purchase, use a trust account to protect your identity and any other sensitive information associated with it. Choose a trust name that is different from the family name and associate it with a nonresidential address such as a P.O. Box.
Commercial and public sites can reveal details about your home you would rather keep private. For example, your realtor’s website may still contain photos of your home long after the close of the sale, while other sites may list pricing history of your property. Most of these sites will remove your information per request. You may want to discuss these issues with your real estate agent as they may have more insight on how to keep your information private.
While it is not ideal to think about the possibilities of something going wrong, it is beneficial to be prepared. Aside for the aforementioned measures, what else do you do to ensure your security? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To invest in quality CCTV surveillance cameras and security systems for your home, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294. Inquire about a free quote, site survey or our installation services.
Staying connected to your home is a convenience in itself, but in the case of natural disasters and emergencies, it can be an invaluable tool. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you likely have an emergency plan in place. However, a connected home can provide new and safer options to manage the situation.
Regardless of whether it is your home, vacation property, or even the home of a loved one, here are some ways connected technology can benefit you in the face of an emergency and beyond.
Unfortunately, emergency evacuations mean abandoned homes and properties, which is ideal for looters. With connected security cameras, you can keep an eye on who might be entering your home, as well as monitor the possible damage occurring as a result of the natural disaster.
Installing water sensors can alert you of flood conditions and even slow leaks, which can cause significant damage over time if not detected early.
Aside from water sensors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors can save lives by alerting you when levels become dangerous.
Connected devices such as smart locks and garage doors often have motion detection sensors which notify you when someone enters or exits your home.
Remote Monitoring & Push Notifications
Because you can monitor from a safe distance, these are ideal in emergency situations. Push notifications provide up-to-date alerts which allow you to deal with situations in a timely fashion. Both enable you to monitor and understand what is going on without putting yourself in danger.
Affordable & Reliable Communication
Because these technologies seem so advanced, people often interpret this as complicated and expensive. However, this is not the case. There are various solutions on the market that offer relatively simple installation for cost-effective prices. Because the accessories and transmission processes have become more affordable over the years, connected technology is more accessible and easier to manage and maintain.
You can possibly get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install smart, connected devices. Many insurance providers are now offering discounts for those with smart homes. Some providers even partner with connected technology manufacturers to offer more incentives for customers.
Furthermore, choosing smart devices for your home helps to relieve emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies. Instead of entering an area affected by a natural disaster, you can check in on your property remotely to stay out of harm’s way and avoid interrupting the ongoing work of emergency personnel.
Peace Of Mind
As a whole, connected devices can offer some peace of mind in stressful, dire times. While these devices can be extremely helpful in disaster areas, all homeowners can benefit from a connected home.
People often take vacations over the summer, which makes it no surprise that July and August are the months with most break-ins. If you’re going away for a little vacation, use these tips to help keep your home and property safe.
Think Like A Burglar
Take a look at your home and think about the ways you would try to break in. These spots should be reinforced with extra security. You may also want to consider concealing your valuables. If burglars can see something they want through a window, they may be more likely to target that home.
Take pictures of your home and your belongings before you leave. In case a burglar does target your house, the photos can help to document any damage and help you create an inventory log with estimated values of your items. Both of these can be especially helpful for insurance purposes.
These will need to be adjusted if you have a house sitter or pet sitter coming and going, but, in general, you should:
To avoid returning to damaged property, turn off and unplug electronics, such as TVs, computers, or other devices, that could be damaged in the event of power surges. Depending on the length of your vacation, you may want to consider turning off the water and gas as well.
If possible, get your neighbors involved. Choose a trusted neighbor or two and politely ask them if they can keep an eye on things while you’re away, and offer to do that same if they leave. You can have the post office hold your mail, or have your neighbors pick it up, as well as any ads or flyers left on your door. You may also ask them to mow your lawn, trim plants, and set out trash cans, even if they are empty. This will help to keep up the charade that someone is occupying the home. Lastly, consider giving your most trusted a neighbor a spare key in case of emergencies.
If you’re looking to upgrade or add a surveillance system to your home or business, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. We carry a vast selection of quality security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more at affordable prices. To schedule a free site survey or learn more about our installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294.
Imagine coming home and finding that your house had been ransacked. It is a terrible feeling that we would never wish upon anyone, but, unfortunately, it does happen. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are approximately 2 million burglaries every year in the United States. There are security measures you can take to try and prevent thieves, but if you find yourself a victim of a break-in, be sure you know which steps to take immediately.
Call the police. This should be your first instinct, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Also, try not to touch anything in case the police want to dust for fingerprints.
If you think the intruders may still be in your home, leave. Get back into your car and go to a trusted neighbor, family, or friend’s house. Remember that your life is more important than any material things.
After you have contacted the police and the chaos has died down, you should call your insurance agent. Create an inventory of the items stolen, and anything that was damaged during the burglary. If the police report is not ready yet, take note of important details, such as the police report number, the law enforcement agency and the name of the officer that took the report, etc. You will be able to update your claim throughout the process, so don’t fret if you are unsure of everything that was stolen yet. Depending on the severity of the case, you can handle your claim online, over the phone, or a claims representative may visit.
Improve Your Home Security
Now that you have gotten the ball rolling on your police report and insurance claim, you may want to consider investing in a home security system, or upgrading your existing equipment. Because burglars know you will replace your belongings, you are likely to become a victim again. Typically, they will wait at least six months to a year to return. In that time, you can set up a home security system that will deter them or potentially catch them in the act. And if they don’t return, a security system can help you rest easy at night, and may even lower your insurance rates.
You should let the police do their work and stay out of their way, but you might notice things that they may have missed. You can offer leads to the police, but you should not get your hopes up. For example, one homeowner whose television was stolen purposefully did not change her Netflix password. Eventually the homeowner realized that the thief was accessing her account through the stolen TV. Police were able to track down the IP address, but they could not render help until much later. By the time they had tracked down the stolen TV, the criminals were long gone. Despite the fact that this incident did not end happily, any leads you may come across might have a different outcome.
Beef up your home or business security with our wide selection of CCTV security cameras, surveillance equipment, and more. Visit us online or call 1-888-203-6294 for more information.
More and more people are turning to security systems to protect their homes. This is a smart decision, as security cameras will help you feel at ease whether you are in your home or on vacation. Unfortunately, when shopping for a security system, you may find that there are companies that seem genuine, but do not have the customer’s best interest at heart.
If you are thinking of investing in a home security system, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the best deal on what you are looking for.
Consider your budget and what features are absolutely necessary and which you could live without. Credible businesses will work with you to build a home security system to suit your wants, needs and budget. You can ask for input or recommendations from friends, family, or even your home or renters insurance carrier.
Contact at least three companies before making a decision. This way you can compare prices and service, and ask important questions (ex. proper licensing, background checks for employees). This will also give you time to check reviews or do additional research before committing to a company.
If you have a budget, see what companies can offer for that price. Or you can compare prices from different businesses on a similar system. When getting quotes and prices, be sure ask about any other fees that may apply, for example, monthly monitoring fees or installation charges. It is also wise to consult with your insurance agent since home security systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s premiums.
As with any contract, be sure that you fully understand it before signing. Know how long it will last, what it covers, terminations fees, etc. If your system is going to be monitored, those contracts typically last 2-5 years. Before you sign on to a long term contract, be sure to ask the major, important questions. For example, what happens if you are dissatisfied with the services provided? Is it possible to cancel the contract? As the consumer, what are your rights if the company is acquired by another company?
When shopping around, keep an eye out for these red flags:
Often times, trustworthy companies will give you time to think through the deal and make your decision. But if a seller is trying to pressure you into going with their company, don’t give in until you have done the proper research.
While some companies offer competitive prices, others may offer unbelievable deals that seem too good to be true. Most of the time, they are. In this case, “you get what you pay for” rings true. Whether it is defective equipment or a poor installation job, this is something to keep in mind when making your final decision.
If you cannot get a positive identification for your salesperson or the company, you may want to question using their services. Also, beware of sellers with no ties to their community. This could mean they might pull a disappearing act after mediocre services have been rendered and payments have been made.
It is always wise to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or reviews about the company. If there have been complaints, you can see how the company handled the situation, giving you a better idea of the customer service you can expect.
Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse great deals on our quality stock of security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more. Call 1-888-203-6294 to learn more about our equipment and services.
Home alarm systems can give you peace of mind while you’re away, but they can sometimes cost an arm and a leg. With proper research and strategic planning, you can either find a home alarm system within your budget, or utilize certain techniques to protect your home. The consensus seems to be that home alarm systems are worth the investment.
You have two options when it comes to home alarm systems – wired or wireless. Wired systems are secured through intricate cabling that should be deliberately hidden or run within walls to prevent tampering. While wired systems tend to cost less, they do require cabling work, and if cables are found, they are vulnerable to system disablement.
Wireless systems eliminate the needs for wiring, and allow the system to span larger areas. They are also more convenient for renters as they can be uninstalled and reinstalled fairly easily. Their power comes from batteries so it’s important to be sure that equipment is adequately charged and working properly. While wireless systems often provide more convenience, they tend to be priced a little higher as well.
Whichever fits within your budget and needs should be invested in. But if neither fit within your budget, there are simple tactics to employ to dissuade potential burglars from targeting your home.
Be aware of what can be seen from outside your home. If your flat screen television or laptops can be seen from outside, you may want to reconsider placement or utilize curtains or blinds. You may also want to make it appear as if people are home, even if no one is. Leave a light on or leave a car in the driveway so your house does not seem completely vulnerable. If possible, have a friend or neighbor periodically check on your home and pick up your mail. An accumulation of mail or newspapers is a dead giveaway for an unattended home. Lastly, reinforcing locks on doors and windows or large fences around your perimeter can help add an extra layer of protection.
At SecurityCamExpert.com, we offer wireless home alarm units. Our home alarm bundles range from $94.99-$169.99, providing you with the basics. You can add additional products to your system or build your own system with items starting as low as $24.
Browse our stock online or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294. Our staff is always happy to help you with your security system needs.