Everyone wants to keep their home and family safe from intruders, theft & fire, unfortunately there are plenty of shady sales reps willing to take advantage of homeowners.
As with most things in life, if a home security deal sounds unrealistically good, you need to be suspicious. Here are a ways you can protect yourself against home security scams
If a door-to-door sales rep wears a GE or Honeywell logo on his or her uniform, be very suspicious. Scam victims have reported door-to-door sellers wearing these logos. Neither of these companies sell home security systems directly to consumers, they are security equipment manufactures and they do not allow people not associated with them to wear their logos.
Be suspicious if a company offers to install a system without assessing your particular security needs first. In order to function properly, home security systems need to be customized to your home’s specific layout. Companies offering to do this may end up only putting sensors on doors and windows, when in fact you need a mix of sensors located to suit your home’s design & security needs.
Don’t sign a contract if a representative tells you that you have 30 days to terminate the contract. The “cooling off” period specified by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is actually only three days, so there is a good chance the rep may be trying to appear generous by offering a 30-day grace period.
Watch out for reps who tell you that your security company is closing or is merging with their company, this is the most common home security scam. A sales rep knocks on the door telling people that their security company is going out of business or merging and that they should switch over to the scammer’s company. They will often say that for any inconvieniece they will upgrade their existing security system or provide a new system for Free. What ends up happing is the homeowner is now under 2 security contracts. When homeowners find out that they’ve been scammed they try to cancel the new fraudulant contract and the new company drags their feet or say that the homeowner should have read the agreement or call their existing company to verify if the claims were true. This can be a long & costly process to resolve.
If you already have a home security system and someone claiming to be with your home security company shows up unannounced at your door, be very suspicious. Any legitimate home security company will not send reps to homes unannounced. If you don’t have a home security system, do you really think you should make such an important decision after being put on the spot by a stranger?
Should someone come to your door offering a “one time only” deal on a home security system, you should see it as a red flag. There are plenty of reputable and legitimate home security companies, and they stay away from practices like this. Legitimate monitored home security companies may run installation specials, but they’re generally offered through a website, and not by someone showing up at your house pressuring you into buying.
It only takes a single crime in a neighborhood to motivate homeowners to rethink what they are doing to keep themselves safe. For the victim, waiting until a crime occurs is a case of waiting too long. The best way to approach potential crime in your neighborhood is to be proactive and take steps now that will reduce your risk of becoming a victim. That approach includes a home security system and/or a security camera system.
Security cameras offer an extra layer of protection by giving intruders and thieves another reason to second-guess a decision to enter your home. They know security cameras can help to identify them for purposes of investigation, arrest, prosecution and conviction. That’s more than enough motivation to leave your property alone.
According to FBI data covering 2014:
Nearly 8.3 Million property crimes were committed
Burglaries accounted for 20.9% of the total
Larceny 70.8% & Auto Theft 8.3%
Property owners suffered combined losses of 14.3 Billion
The Security Services market generated revenues of 67 Billion in 2013
Revenues for 2016 are expected to be as high as 86 Billion
Video Surveillance is expected to generate 24 Billion in 2018, a 50% increase over 2014
Security systems help protect homeowners and their belongings from potential intrusions, but what if you’re attacked outside of your home? Between 2010 and 2011, the number of assaults reported in the U.S. increased by 22 percent, according to the 2011 Criminal Victimization report by the Department of Justice. Women are often the victims, particularly when walking alone late at night. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps any woman can take to avoid being targeted and quell an attack, if necessary.
1. Be aware
Always be aware of your surroundings and potentially dangerous people, especially when walking alone late at night. Let a friend or family member know what time you expect to be home so he or she can make sure you’ve arrived safely.
2. Do not walk alone
Women who are alone are easy targets for potential attackers, so avoid walking alone after dark whenever possible. Ask a coworker to walk you to your car after work, or make use of safety escort services, which are available on many college campuses.
3. Eye contact
If you’re concerned for your safety, make eye contact with the potential attacker so you can identify him or her later, if necessary. Fear of being identified will deter most attackers.
4. Keep your hands free
Avoid texting or talking on the phone while walking alone. Doing so will distract you from potential danger and make defending yourself against an attacker much more difficult.
5. Take the elevator
Attackers often strike in empty stairwells, so take the elevator instead. Stand close to the door so if someone makes you uneasy you can exit quickly.
6. Take a self-defense class
Every woman should know basic self-defense techniques. Consider taking a class or attending a seminar to learn how to stay safe and defend yourself against potential attackers.
7. Carry mace or a stun gun
Self-defense maneuvers may not be enough to deter a bigger, stronger attacker, so carry mace or a stun gun with you as back up. Both items will immediately incapacitate a potential attacker and give you time to get away.
Living on your own for the first time is exciting. You can finally watch what you want on TV, decorate to reflect your personal style and come and go as you please. That said, there are a few potential downsides to solitary living, and personal security can be one of the most significant.
Whether you’re an established professional woman transitioning into a house, or a recent college grad moving into your first apartment, here are nine simple ways to take charge of your personal security and enjoy living solo for the first time.
1. MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS.
No one says you need to become best friends with those who live in your apartment complex or neighborhood, but it never hurts to have an extra set of eyes watching out for you, especially when you live alone. Of course, it’s a good idea to be cautious of giving out personal information until you know your neighbors well.
2. GET A MONITORED HOME SECURITY SYSTEM.
A home security system is a great deterrent to would-be burglars. In fact, the research out of the University of North Carolina, funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF), under the auspices of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), reveals 84 percent of burglars said if they were confronted with a home security system they would not attack the home. Even if you live in a low-crime area, you’ll rest easier at night knowing your abode is protected by a monitored home security system.
Best yet, many professional home security providers offer affordable wireless security systems you can install yourself and take with you when you move.
3. GET POSSIBLE SECURITY RISKS FIXED.
Before you unpack the first moving box, walk around your new apartment or home and look for security risks. Does the deadbolt work? Are lights functioning in and outside of your apartment, especially in parking lots or garages? Do doors and windows shut and lock properly? If you discover a possible security problem, insist the landlord fix it immediately. If you’re a first time homeowner, keep in mind that you no longer have a landlord to rely on; you have to take responsibility for your safety. Identify security threats and get them rectified immediately.
4. USE A PERSONAL SECURITY APP.
Whether you’re headed out to meet girlfriends or simply walking from your apartment to your car, downloading a personal security app is a smart move for any woman who lives alone.
There are several personal security apps on the market, and a number of them are completely free. In addition to offering loud alarms you can quickly activate if you feel threatened, some apps also offer GPS tracking. Set the app to tracking mode and if you don’t get to your predetermined destination, your emergency contacts are alerted immediately and notified of your location.
5. GET A DOG.
Dogs have a reputation as “man’s best friend” but they also make the perfect companion for a woman living on her own. Dogs typically have remarkable intuition when it comes to detecting trouble, their bark may startle a potential intruder, and going for a run with Fido in tow can be comforting.
That said, a dog isn’t a replacement for a home security system and be sure to get the okay from your landlord before you invite a furry friend into your apartment.
6. DON’T GIVE OUT CLUES YOU’RE OUT OF TOWN.
Living alone means you don’t automatically have someone to care for your home when you’re away, and an unoccupied home is eye candy to burglar. Burglars are known to drive through neighborhoods looking for signs that a house is unoccupied, such as an overstuffed mailbox, flyers on the front door, tall grass and garbage cans at the curb for days on end. If you’re going out of town, ask a friend or neighbor to care for your home and consider putting interior lights on timers.
7. CLOSE THE CURTAINS!
Your friends and family may know you live alone, but the bad guy doesn’t need to. Close your home’s curtains so it’s not obvious you’re by yourself. Keeping curtains closed will also conceal goodies a burglar may want to get their hands on, such as your iPad, jewelry or purse.
8. REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY.
Living by yourself means you must be especially aware of your surroundings and trust your gut. If a person makes you feel uncomfortable or you witness a suspicious situation, don’t hesitate to call the police. You may also want to alert your neighbors and inform your landlord.
9. RESEARCH CRIME IN YOUR AREA.
One of the best ways to help protect yourself when living alone is by being aware of the types of crime happening in your neighborhood. Call your local law enforcement agency and ask about crime trends, or use a crime mapping website such as CrimeMapping. This site, and similar ones, will tell you what type of crime is reported in your area, give you the option of signing up for crime alerts, and more.
Whether you’re living solo in a city apartment complex or a house in the suburbs, use these smart tips to take a proactive approach to your personal security.
Homeowners have become more sensitive to resale value in recent years, as the housing market has struggled. Some may wonder if a home security system will affect their home’s resale value. The answer is often yes. Here are five ways it can do just that…
1. Easier Security System Setup for the Buyer
The popularity of home security systems has steadily increased over the years, and many people prefer to buy a home that already has a home security system in place. If a home buyer has a home security system in his or her previous home, it will be easier to get the new home’s security system up and running. In fact, some providers of home security systems offer discounts for those moving to new homes and may offer to port the service to the new address for free. For these reasons, buyers like knowing a home security system is already in place in homes they consider.
2. Savings on Homeowners Insurance
If installation of your home security system resulted in a reduction in homeowners insurance premiums, your buyer can probably obtain a similar discount, and this can sway a buyer in your favor. Given the choice of two very similar houses—one with a home security system (and possible insurance discounts it confers) and one without—many buyers will choose the house with the home security system. Not only will they be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a home security system, they may save substantially on their insurance premiums.
3. Home Automation and Energy Management Features
Many of the latest home security systems come with integrated home features, such as automatic thermostat controls, lighting controls and even remote control of home appliances. Not only are these homes more secure, they are more energy-efficient, and when a buyer knows there are savings to be had on utility bills (in addition to possible homeowners insurance premium discounts), he or she is much more likely to make an offer.
4. Emergency Sensors Can Help Avert Disaster
Today, you can install home security systems with add-ons that can detect flooding from appliances that malfunction, gas leaks, basement flooding, roof leaks and low temperatures. These are all situations in which acting quickly is important, and by alerting homeowners to hazards they can help prevent very costly home repairs. Any home buyer who has woken up to burst pipe will appreciate such a system.
5. Adjunct Security Measures
Finally, the additional security measures that the conscientious homeowner makes when installing a home security system also help boost home value. For example, motion-sensor lighting over the driveway and over the pathway to the front door is a terrific convenience, as well as being a deterrent to nighttime intruders. Keeping vegetation trimmed back near doors, porches, and downstairs windows not only helps deny a burglar a good hiding place, it also improves a home’s curb appeal. And when all doors and windows have high-quality locks, potential buyers know they’re buying a home in which safety and security have been taken seriously.
Home Security Systems no longer need to be connected to a landline. Intruders often cut the landline before entering a home which will disable the home security system. If the phone lines in your area are damaged, it can prevent your monitored home security system from reporting an emergency. If you are using internet phone service or VOIP, an internet outage or a simple power outage will disable your home telephone. A wireless home security system installed with cellular monitoring capability provides both a practical and useful solution to these problems.
How It Works:
Cellular Monitoring works a bit differently from traditional security monitoring. The home security system usually comes with a cellular GSM Radio which is installed directly into the system’s control panel. With cellular monitoring signals are sent over a 2-way cellular network rather than traditional phone lines eliminating the chance of an intruder cutting your phone line and disabling your home security system.
When the system detects an intrusion, one of two things may happen:
If the system is designed to work as a backup to an existing landline phone, it will first check for a landline dial tone. If no dial tone is present, the system will use a wireless cellular signal to reach the monitoring station.
If the system is designed to work as a replacement for a landline monitored home security system, it will immediately use the cellular line to send an alert to the monitoring station.
Home invasions are a very real threat. In contrast to a burglary, where the aim is to break into an unoccupied home and steal jewelry, electronics and other valuables, home invaders tend to enter the house when the residents are home, and they attempt to gain access to valuable information such as PIN or Social Security Numbers through the use of violence and threats. While this certainly is a scary and dangerous situation, there are some steps you can take to help prevent a home invasion.
1. Install Strong Doors and Locks.
Replacing weak locks with dead-bolts is a great start to defending your home from invasion. For added protection, consider installing steel-framed doors at every entry point. The combination of the two will make it very difficult for an invader to break down or bust through a door.
2. Install a Video Intercom System.
Many home invasions begin with the intruder posing as a sales or delivery person who’s just waiting for you to unlock the door – even for a second – so that they can force their way in. So, before you unlock your door for someone, make sure to look through the video intercom system to see who’s there, you can also speak to the person through the intercom without opening the door. Be wary if you don’t know the person you see outside. If you are skeptical, ask for identification, as it’s always better to play it safe.
3. Install a Home Security System.
A home security system is one of the best defenses against home invasion. Not only does it tend to scare most burglars off, but home security systems with alert buttons can notify the authorities when your family is being threatened by home invaders. As with locks, make sure you get in the habit of setting it each and every time you leave your home. It’s also recommended that you arm the door and widow sensors when you are at home especially when you go to bed.
By following these three fairly simple suggestions, you can keep your family safe and decrease your chance of an invasion occurring at your home.