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School’s out and for many of us, that means family vacation time. Here are some reminders to keep your home safe while you’re out of town.
- Stop deliveries: Create an online account with USPS, FedEx, and UPS so you can request a vacation hold on mail and packages. For trips longer than 30 days, set up mail forwarding or arrange for someone else to pick it up for you. Don’t forget to stop any other regular deliveries: the newspaper, groceries, wine club subscriptions, etc.
- Get tech savvy:Set up a video/motion detector doorbell so you can speak to a visitor in real time from your smart phone, and access to a video log of activity outside your house. Consider investing in light timers so interior and exterior lights will turn on for a few hours a day. There are many cool ways Alexa and smart devices can protect your home, but they can also make you vulnerable to exploitation. Learn about your devices and take precautions. Also, if your car has built-in GPS and you’re leaving it at the airport, change your “home” preset to a public place.
- Don’t boast: Avoid the temptation to brag about your vacation plans! If you or your kids can’t resist posting on social media, ensure all accounts are private and only accessible to close friends and family. Otherwise, wait until you get home to post photos. The same rules apply in the real world, too. Try not to talk about vacation plans in public or large group settings.
- Hide things: Make things as difficult as possible for thieves by hiding your jewelry and valuables. Be creative! Just remember where you hid everything. Better yet, install a quality safe somewhere no one would look. While safes aren’t totally safe, criminals are typically more focused on speed and simplicity than lockpicking.
- Ask for help: Hiring a trusted house sitter is the best way to protect your home and give you peace of mind. If that’s not an option, at least enlist a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on the house and stop by occasionally. Have them handle a few basic chores to prevent your house from looking unoccupied, like picking up packages, taking the garbage bins in and out, or maybe even mowing the lawn.
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