Monday April 21, 2014
A man in Cleveland Heights, Ohio was recently beaten and robbed of his cellphone after being followed by three people. This was not an isolated incident, as four other incidents have occurred in the same area over a three week period. All of the robberies involved a group following the victim before assaulting him. Awareness is key in preventing these types of attacks and robberies. Another woman was being followed in Houston after leaving a bank. She realized what was happening, called the police and drove to the police station. The suspects followed her all the way there and were arrested. I recently wrote about how to recognize you're being followed, and what to do when that happens. If you believe that you're in jeopardy, it is imperative that you call the police right away.
It is also important to know when to call the police specifically, and when to call 911. The 911 service is for emergency situations only, but many people call 911 for superficial reasons. A woman was arrested in Troy, Michigan recently after calling 911 to request an escort home because she was drunk. She was charged with interfering in police operations. While it is important to not drive drunk, it is not appropriate to use 911 as a personal taxi service because it takes resources away from people who desperately need help at the same time. I discussed this recently to explain when 911 is appropriate versus calling the police or fire department directly. Understanding the differences between the services helps to reduce your response time and also prevents you from breaking the law inadvertently.
Knowing your options when faced with an emergency helps you to make educated decisions quickly, improving your chances of survival. Planning for these types of situations ahead of time also helps to reduce panic when an actual emergency happens. If you have any questions, or any personal experiences with 911 or being followed that you'd like to share, please do so below.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Monday March 31, 2014
You have a lot of options when deciding on what your top priorities are from a home security standpoint. Everyone's situation is a little different, and it's important to use whatever financial resources you have to maximum effect. It is cheaper to prevent a theft or property damage than it is to try to repair the damage after the fact. I spoke recently about protecting the possessions that you keep in your car. Thieves often base their targets on what they see inside of a car before they break into it. Five cars in a parking lot in Glasgow, Kentucky had their windows broken and items stolen recently. The car owners had left items like purses inside the car covered with a jacket or blanket. Thieves see the jacket or blanket, know something is hidden under it, and break the window to grab it. It takes seconds, and he items taken are sometime replaceable. Be selective about what you leave in the car and where you choose to put those items to help minimize your risk.
It is also imperative to make careful choice in your home when you have children. Kids can create unique obstacles from a home security standpoint, but they can also be an asset if they are properly taught. A two-year-old in England recently received an award for calling emergency services when his mother collapsed from a blood clot and internal bleeding that required immediate surgery. If the child had not been taught how to do that, his mother would have likely died. I wrote recently about having kids in the home, and how to plan for your home security with them in mind. It takes time and patience to properly integrate your home security with children, but the most important thing is keeping them safe and your home secure. The time and effort is worth it.
One choice that I don't think is beneficial regards identity theft insurance. I recently described what identity theft and credit monitoring services are, how much they cost and what the benefits are. I'd love to know about any experiences any of you have had with these services. I think identity theft is a serious problem that needs to be addressed and planned for, but identity theft insurance does not offer any significant advantages that you can't provide for yourself without the cost. Share your thoughts below.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Saturday March 29, 2014
You are ultimately the one responsible for your own security, because nobody knows your specific needs and vulnerabilities like you do. You're also the one that suffers the losses in the event of a home invasion or security breach. However, you have resources available to help you. A variety of security companies exist to assist you with installing and monitoring a security system, though the specific options depend on where you live. Protection 1 is one of the larger security companies in the nation, and I recently profiled them so you have the information you need to start researching them as an option. I wrote about Protection 1's use of door-to-door sales people, but not everyone is who they claim to be. Cold Springs, Nevada has had a recent problem with a conman posing as a home security inspector. The suspicious man has arrived unannounced at people's front door and claimed that he needed to inspect their home security. Police are currently investigating. If you've ever had an experience like this, please share it below.
Always verify someone's identity, and call the company that person claims to work for before you engage in any conversation, no matter what services that person tries to offer you. You never want anyone inspecting your home security measures or discussing your home with you who is not a legitimate security professional.
Another system that is designed to protect you against fraud is the password security system of your email and banking websites. However, the system is only effective if you use it properly. I recently spoke about when and how often you should change your passwords for maximum benefit. This past January, multiple Yahoo users had their email passwords stolen, allowing the hackers to access a variety of accounts. It's imperative that you choose smart passwords and change them the second there's any indication of a breach. Companies and systems are available to help you stay secure, but it always starts and ends with you.
Photo © David Beaudrie
Monday March 24, 2014
A Connecticut-based property management company was recently charged with fraud after falsifying rental records in an attempt to steal money rightfully belonging to the property owner. This type of scam often affects apartment tenants too, because the management company is suspected of embezzling funds. Companies who engage in this type of behavior also frequently defraud the tenants in a building by inflating the rent or by stealing the tenants' security deposits. I recently described how your security deposit could be at risk for your rental unit if you have not taken precautions and done your research.If you have any questions about a security deposit situation, share them below.
It is also vital to research a building and a neighborhood before you move in whenever possible. I wrote about how to effectively do this, and it can save you from moving into an area that has crime problems you otherwise wouldn't know about until it's too late. This is important whether you live in an apartment or a house. Alaska State Troopers recently arrested several people for fraud after they stole mail and other personal identification from their victims for the purpose of identity theft. Neighbors in the area started posting signs about missing mail, which caused other homeowners to be more vigilant. Knowing what is happening in the area where you live helps you prepare more effectively for any possible threats, and you also have better odds of preventing a crime before it happens.
If you have roommates, maintaining home security vigilance can be more difficult, as I recently described. One issue I didn't go into in that piece is also how important it is to know your roommates well before moving in with them. Sometimes, financial hardship forces you to move in with people before you otherwise would. Be aware of the risks though, and don't be too trusting until your roommates have truly earned it and shown themselves to be good people. Two people got arrested in Hawaii earlier this month for trying to kill their roommate. The attack was preplanned, and robbery could have been a possible motive. Keep a positive relationship with your roommates as much as possible, but don't hesitate to move out if you feel threatened or feel something else is wrong. That gut instinct may be the only warning you get.
Photo © David Beaudrie