Avoid Crime at Home While You Travel

If you leave your home to travel for more than a few days, winter or summer, you should take precautions to protect your home, your belongings and your finances. Here are some valuable tips.
•    Put timers on several lights to make more than one room look occupied after dark.
•    Install motion-detector lights at your front door, back door and garage.
•    Leave a radio on.
•    Arrange for a neighbor to pick up packages from your doorstep, newspapers from your driveway, and unheld mail from your mailbox.
•    Put a hold on your mail at the post office or have a neighbor collect it every day.
•    Have a friend periodically check the house to make sure everything is okay.
•    Alert your financial institution that you will be away (to keep them from blocking your credit card due to unusual usage, tell them where you will be using your card and when you will return).
•    Tape a wrench to your gas meter and show neighbors how to turn off the gas in case of an earthquake or other major emergency.
•    If possible, leave a car in the driveway (with a safety bar locked on the steering wheel).
•    Share your contact information and the address(es) of your destination(s) with a friend or neighbor.
•    Pack prescription information and copies of important medical information to take with you.
•    While you travel, be very careful about using public wi-fi hot spots at coffee shops, libraries, etc. Don’t use these for on-line shopping or on-line banking. Hackers notoriously use these hot spots to steal your financial data and passwords.
•    Perhaps most important of all, think ahead. Make written arrangements with a trusted friend about what to do if you cannot return home when you planned to. Accidents or other emergencies do happen, and you’ll want to know your home (and perhaps pets) will be taken care of if you cannot be there to assume your normal responsibilities.

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