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Protecting Against Theft

How to Prevent Burglaries

·         You may call the police to report a crime or suspicious activity.  Don’t assume someone else will take care of it.  You can be the eyes of your neighborhood, and you may remain anonymous.

·         Protect your property.  Light up your residence and lock your doors at all times.

  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
  • Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.

Don't Provide Temptation:

  • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight
  • Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”

Locks…Don’t go cheap:

  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.

Targeting the Outside:

  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.

Windows:

  • Most windows can be pinned for security.
  • Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the window.

Alarms:

  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There are many alarm systems on the market.
  • Shop around with different companies for the best security system available to you.
  • If you have a home alarm system, use it!   Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them.
  • Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.

If Your Home Is Broken Into:

If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:

  • Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Use a neighbor's phone or your cell phone to call police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.

Other precautions you should take:

  • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places -- burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver's license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
  • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
 Car Burglaries

Tips on how to avoid car break-ins:

  • Do not leave valuables in plain view:
    (especially GPS devices, lap tops, PDA’s, cell phones, MP3’s, wallets, purses)
  • Do not leave windows or sunroof open.
  • Do not leave your doors unlocked.
  • Do not leave keys in the vehicle.
  • Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
  • Do not leave out items with personal information.
  • Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view.
 Carjacking

What you can do

§  Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving.

§  When parked, never leave your keys in the car. Close all the windows and the sunroof.

§  Never leave your car running and unattended.

§  Do not leave your vehicle title in the car. Too often a car thief is pulled over and gets away from the police because he or she can produce the auto registration. (If multiple drivers use the vehicle, the best suggestion would be to hide the registration in a secret location in the car that only the owners know.)

§  Know where you’re going. Avoid known high crime areas even if the alternate route takes longer.

§  Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one. Thieves are reluctant to steal vehicles if they know the cars can be recovered quickly. Many insurers offer discounts for the types of systems listed below.

§  Thieves prefer to work in the dark. Be particularly cautious at night about where you park your car. Park it in a well-lit area if possible.

§  Look around. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots and gas stations.

§  Have your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on each of the windows. Car thieves want to get off cheap. They don’t want to go to the expense of replacing all the glass.

§  If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced; you can’t.

 

Helps to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is using uses another person's personal information to take on that person's identity. Identity theft is much more than misuse of a Social Security or Driver's License number -- it can also include credit card and mail fraud.


How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

§  Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card or anythingn else that has that number. Read, "Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number"

 

§  Be careful when giving out your personal information. Scam artists "phish" for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in e-mails and in postal mail.

 

§  Throw away wisely. Shred or destroy papers containing your personal information including credit card offers and “convenience checks” that you don’t use.

 

§  Protect your postal mail. Retrieve mail promptly. Discontinue delivery while out of town.

 

§  Review your bills and bank statements. Open your credit card bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don’t arrive on time. It may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges.

 

§  Review your credit reports. Review your credit report at least once a year. Check for changed addresses and fraudulent charges.

 

§  Stop pre-approved credit offers. Pre-approved credit card offers are a target for identity thieves who steal your mail. Have your name removed from credit
bureau marketing lists. Call toll-free 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688)

 

§  Always use questions. Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected. If you’re not satisfied with the answers, don’t give your personal information.

 

§  Protect your computer.  Protect personal information on your computer by following good security practices.

    • Use strong, non-easily guessed passwords.
    • Use firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software that you update regularly.
    • Download software only from sites you know and trust and only after reading all the terms and conditions.
    • Don’t click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.

§  Surf the Web responsibly. When shopping online, check out a Web site before entering your credit card number or other personal information. Read the privacy policy and take opportunities to opt out of information sharing. Only enter personal information on secure Web pages that encrypt your data in transit. You can often tell if a page is secure if "https" is in URL or if there is a padlock icon on the browser window.


If Your Information is Stolen:

Contact a Major Credit Bureau Agency and Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report.

Equifax
Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
800-525-6285
Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
800-685-1111 / 888-766-0008
http://www.equifax.com

Experian
Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
888-397-3742
Credit Fraud Center
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
http://www.experian.com

Trans Union
Direct Line for reporting suspected fraud:
800-680-7289
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
Phone: 800-916-8800 / 800-680-7289
http://www.transunion.com

 
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