Safeguarding Yourself Online: 3 Common Identity Theft Scams And How To Prevent Them

Technology, for all its glory, is not immune to attacks and being solely dependent on it almost always means you will get hit by a glitch or a breach at any point. According to reports, over 200 businesses have fallen victim to hackers in 2017 alone (and in the US alone). As tech developers scramble to build fortresses that aim to block off any attempts at identity theft, hackers are also getting smarter.

That said, even if your system tells you it’s hacker-proof, the responsibility to protect your personal data, like Social Security and credit card numbers, still lies upon you. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from identity theft and to prevent it from happening to you. But, first, let’s understand what identity theft means.

Identity Theft

Any unauthorized access to your personal details can be classified as identify theft. These can cover financial data like bank account numbers and credit card details, Social Security numbers, your birthdate and physical address. These can also include passwords and usernames to your online accounts, your phone, computer, and more. In short, the loss of anything that can be used to falsely represent you is considered identity theft.

When somebody gets hold of these details, they have the power to assume your identity and open new accounts, access financial resources, or basically pretend to be you. It can be very difficult to erase all the damage once your identity has been stolen. If you didn’t have safeguards in place, you could face major financial turmoil that could take years to recover from. Even if the theft had been proven, all the trouble that you need to go through to fix everything is exhausting.

Watch Out For These Common Scams

While you cannot totally shield yourself from hackers, you can certainly reduce the odds of you becoming a victim. We’ve gathered some of the most common identify theft scams so we can all spot a tactic when it attempts to hit us.

  1. Ransomware

This happens when a software encrypts your data and then asks you for payment to recover it. Ransomware attacks are doubly dangerous because not only do they have their hands on your identifying information, they are also asking you to pay them to give it back (if they even truly will). It’s literally getting your information kidnapped for ransom. Some ransomware can even lock you out of your operating system.

How do you spot it? Ransomware usually comes as a fake website form, a corrupt link or attachment sent via email, and other software vulnerabilities. Once the malware is opened, it needs mere minutes to take over the data on your computer.

How to prevent it? One way to shield yourself from an attack is to back up all your data periodically into the Cloud or an external hard drive. That way, when it does hit you, all its efforts will be for nothing because you already have copies. Another way is by turning off macros in MS Office and removing plug-ins like Java and Adobe Reader from your browser. If you do need these plug-ins, pre-set them to ask you first every time they launch.

  1. Phishing

Phishing is perhaps the most common scam online. It happens when somebody tries to steal your data by using a webiste or an email posing as the legitimate one. Usually, you’ll see a message that asks you to click a link to either verify your information or update it. The moment you click it, malware enters your computer, giving hackers the chance to spy on your online movements and access to anything of value in your PC. If you do “update” your details, they also get access to your financials.

How to prevent? Check all the emails sent to you before opening any attachment or clicking a link. Take note of the email addresses they use. Most phishing scams use emails that look very much the same as the legitimate ones but with one or two letters off. You have to be very thorough and meticulous with checks. Sometimes, instinct plays a major role in your protection. If you think an email is suspicious, don’t open it. Better yet, call the company by phone or contact them through an email you’ve used before to ask them if they did send that email. In short, when in doubt, don’t.

  1. Fake online protection plans

This scam capitalizes on your fear of becoming a victim of identity theft. Clever, right? You will sometimes see emails, pop-up messages, and sometimes get phone calls from companies that will offer identity theft protection services and antivirus software. These claims will usually start with telling you your computer has been compromised. They will promise to get rid of all the threats before any “damage” can occur. Because you’re hell bent on protecting yourself, it’s all too easy to just give them what they need. That’s when the problems start.

How to prevent? It pays to always be wary and suspicious of offers like these. Never open emails or popups that claim your PC has been hacked. You can also use ad-blockers to ward off any sneaky attempts to reach you. Finally, to avoid getting victimized and getting to that situation where you will need to get your computer cleaned up, just invest in reputable antivirus software that will regularly sweep your computer and protect it from malware.

Protecting Yourself

To protect yourself, understand that identity hackers are here to stay so you shouldn’t be too confident that your computer is totally protected. In fact, their methods are advancing and looking too close like the legitimate ones. The best way to ward them off is to be vigilant and to educate yourself with how they operate. You can also invest in identity theft protection but work only with credible and reputable service providers with a strong and proven track record. If you suspect that you have been attacked, report it to the bank and the authorities right away.

Traveling With Children: 8 Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

The gift of travel is one of the best things you can give your family. The experience and the new knowledge that everyone gains is simply priceless. However, if you’re a parent traveling with little kids, it can also be exhausting and stressful if you’re not prepared.

Family vacations require meticulous planning, particularly with curious and quickly-bored kids in tow. From finding the right places to visit, to eat, to sleep, every parent’s goal is to make the trip as fruitful and enjoyable as possible while keeping everybody safe. Here are 8 safety tips all parents should know before booking those tickets with children.

  1. Do your research

Every vacation destination is appealing but not everything is child-friendly. Before you book those flights and accommodations, find out first if the place offers anything that the kids will enjoy. There are plenty of resources online and some even offer actual visitor reviews so you can definitely plan a trip that provides an equal share of fun for the adults and the young ones. Another thing that you should research on is the area’s safety issues. Is the crime rate high where you’re going? Is there an outbreak currently happening? These are crucial factors that should go into choosing where to go.

  1. Your itinerary should be child-friendly

Traveling with children calls for compromise. While they can’t do everything that you want to explore, you can plan in advance and make an itinerary that includes them and that both age groups will enjoy. You can find out online or ask the hotel if they have kids’ activities offered. Some hotels have “day use” programs designed for children that involves sports, art, and other learning activities. That way, while the grownups have their fun, the children can stay at the resort and enjoy, as well.

  1. Orient the kids with safety and emergency procedures

You never know when an emergency might happen while your family is on vacation. While you can’t predict what will happen, it helps to get your kids familiar with the basics. Practice with your children what they should do if a distressing incident happens. You can tell them to ask for help from uniformed personnel or another parent with kids. Alternatively, you can advise them to stay where they or go to a specific spot to meet you.

Practice makes perfect, so be sure to go over these instructions with your children several times so they remember it. To be sure, have them repeat it back to you so you can verify if they have understood what you said. You can also point out where there nearest community building or police station/outpost is so they can see where they can call for help.

  1. Keep them busy and entertained

There’s a higher chance that kids will give you meltdowns if they are bored. So, make sure you always give them something to do. Little kids are, no doubt, adorable, but they can also be really mischievous. Bring small toys or art kits with you when you travel, or be ready with movies or downloaded games they can watch and play on your gadget during those long waits. Or you can have them take a nap!

 

  1. Track your children

Curious kids are prone to pulling those heart-stopping disappearing acts. To prevent this hassle, you can have them wear tracking devices so you’ll know exactly when they’ve strayed from the group and where to find them. Now your family can get into the busy sections of the night market and crowded tourist attractions without you worrying constantly where your children are. These wearable gadgets come in cute designs and colors that your children won’t know it’s your way to monitoring them. Some even play music and have games built in.

  1. Make information cards or IDs

Have your kids wear IDs or keep information cards in their pocket in case they do get lost. These should contain your names, contact numbers, and anything else that can be used to reach you. Make sure to update these cards when you change destinations.

  1. Bring a medical kit and some snacks

Scrapes, bumps, and falls are normal when you have kids, so having a medical kit always with you is a smart decision when on vacation. Put in Band-Aids, mild painkillers, disinfectant sprays, and other medical essentials so you’re always ready for anything. If your child requires special attention, make sure that you’ve packed all his or her meds, as well (plus backup).

More importantly, always bring water and some snacks. Kids get thirsty and hungry at the most awkward times. Arming yourself with their essentials ensure that they stay calm and satisfied. You don’t want your kid wailing for treats when you’re all waiting in line for a ride at a theme park.

  1. Check your insurance

Go over your insurance policy and find out if it offers coverage for trips aboard, or even just local trips. If you don’t see anything travel-related on print, it’s worth calling up your insurer to ask about it. You might not think that insurance is necessary for vacations but you’ll be thankful that you included it in your planning should something untoward does happen. In its absence, you can also avail of supplemental insurance. Also check the hospitals where you will be going and find out if they take your insurance. Although nobody wants to dwell on the negative when planning a vacation, it pays to be on the safe side, especially since you’ll be traveling with children.

Overall, always have a Plan B. As parents, the key to an enjoyable vacation with children in tow is to prepare for the worst. That way, when something does happen, you know your heart won’t jump out of your throat because you’re confidently well equipped. Compared to traveling with grownups, trips with kids require extra research and readiness. Don’t fret too much over all the planning that you need to do. When you see those smiles and all the fun everyone is having, everything will be worth it.

Safeguarding Yourself Online: 3 Common Identity Theft Scams And How To Prevent Them

Technology, for all its glory, is not immune to attacks and being solely dependent on it almost always means you will get hit by a glitch or a breach at any point. According to reports, over 200 businesses have fallen victim to hackers in 2017 alone (and in the US alone). As tech developers scramble to build fortresses that aim to block off any attempts at identity theft, hackers are also getting smarter.

That said, even if your system tells you it’s hacker-proof, the responsibility to protect your personal data, like Social Security and credit card numbers, still lies upon you. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from identity theft and to prevent it from happening to you. But, first, let’s understand what identity theft means.

Identity Theft

Any unauthorized access to your personal details can be classified as identify theft. These can cover financial data like bank account numbers and credit card details, Social Security numbers, your birthdate and physical address. These can also include passwords and usernames to your online accounts, your phone, computer, and more. In short, the loss of anything that can be used to falsely represent you is considered identity theft.

When somebody gets hold of these details, they have the power to assume your identity and open new accounts, access financial resources, or basically pretend to be you. It can be very difficult to erase all the damage once your identity has been stolen. If you didn’t have safeguards in place, you could face major financial turmoil that could take years to recover from. Even if the theft had been proven, all the trouble that you need to go through to fix everything is exhausting.

Watch Out For These Common Scams

While you cannot totally shield yourself from hackers, you can certainly reduce the odds of you becoming a victim. We’ve gathered some of the most common identify theft scams so we can all spot a tactic when it attempts to hit us.

  1. Ransomware

This happens when a software encrypts your data and then asks you for payment to recover it. Ransomware attacks are doubly dangerous because not only do they have their hands on your identifying information, they are also asking you to pay them to give it back (if they even truly will). It’s literally getting your information kidnapped for ransom. Some ransomware can even lock you out of your operating system.

How do you spot it? Ransomware usually comes as a fake website form, a corrupt link or attachment sent via email, and other software vulnerabilities. Once the malware is opened, it needs mere minutes to take over the data on your computer.

How to prevent it? One way to shield yourself from an attack is to back up all your data periodically into the Cloud or an external hard drive. That way, when it does hit you, all its efforts will be for nothing because you already have copies. Another way is by turning off macros in MS Office and removing plug-ins like Java and Adobe Reader from your browser. If you do need these plug-ins, pre-set them to ask you first every time they launch.

  1. Phishing

Phishing is perhaps the most common scam online. It happens when somebody tries to steal your data by using a webiste or an email posing as the legitimate one. Usually, you’ll see a message that asks you to click a link to either verify your information or update it. The moment you click it, malware enters your computer, giving hackers the chance to spy on your online movements and access to anything of value in your PC. If you do “update” your details, they also get access to your financials.

How to prevent? Check all the emails sent to you before opening any attachment or clicking a link. Take note of the email addresses they use. Most phishing scams use emails that look very much the same as the legitimate ones but with one or two letters off. You have to be very thorough and meticulous with checks. Sometimes, instinct plays a major role in your protection. If you think an email is suspicious, don’t open it. Better yet, call the company by phone or contact them through an email you’ve used before to ask them if they did send that email. In short, when in doubt, don’t.

  1. Fake online protection plans

This scam capitalizes on your fear of becoming a victim of identity theft. Clever, right? You will sometimes see emails, pop-up messages, and sometimes get phone calls from companies that will offer identity theft protection services and antivirus software. These claims will usually start with telling you your computer has been compromised. They will promise to get rid of all the threats before any “damage” can occur. Because you’re hell bent on protecting yourself, it’s all too easy to just give them what they need. That’s when the problems start.

How to prevent? It pays to always be wary and suspicious of offers like these. Never open emails or popups that claim your PC has been hacked. You can also use ad-blockers to ward off any sneaky attempts to reach you. Finally, to avoid getting victimized and getting to that situation where you will need to get your computer cleaned up, just invest in reputable antivirus software that will regularly sweep your computer and protect it from malware.

Protecting Yourself

To protect yourself, understand that identity hackers are here to stay so you shouldn’t be too confident that your computer is totally protected. In fact, their methods are advancing and looking too close like the legitimate ones. The best way to ward them off is to be vigilant and to educate yourself with how they operate. You can also invest in identity theft protection but work only with credible and reputable service providers with a strong and proven track record. If you suspect that you have been attacked, report it to the bank and the authorities right away.

Traveling With Children: 8 Safety Tips All Parents Should Know

The gift of travel is one of the best things you can give your family. The experience and the new knowledge that everyone gains is simply priceless. However, if you’re a parent traveling with little kids, it can also be exhausting and stressful if you’re not prepared.

Family vacations require meticulous planning, particularly with curious and quickly-bored kids in tow. From finding the right places to visit, to eat, to sleep, every parent’s goal is to make the trip as fruitful and enjoyable as possible while keeping everybody safe. Here are 8 safety tips all parents should know before booking those tickets with children.

  1. Do your research

Every vacation destination is appealing but not everything is child-friendly. Before you book those flights and accommodations, find out first if the place offers anything that the kids will enjoy. There are plenty of resources online and some even offer actual visitor reviews so you can definitely plan a trip that provides an equal share of fun for the adults and the young ones. Another thing that you should research on is the area’s safety issues. Is the crime rate high where you’re going? Is there an outbreak currently happening? These are crucial factors that should go into choosing where to go.

  1. Your itinerary should be child-friendly

Traveling with children calls for compromise. While they can’t do everything that you want to explore, you can plan in advance and make an itinerary that includes them and that both age groups will enjoy. You can find out online or ask the hotel if they have kids’ activities offered. Some hotels have “day use” programs designed for children that involves sports, art, and other learning activities. That way, while the grownups have their fun, the children can stay at the resort and enjoy, as well.

  1. Orient the kids with safety and emergency procedures

You never know when an emergency might happen while your family is on vacation. While you can’t predict what will happen, it helps to get your kids familiar with the basics. Practice with your children what they should do if a distressing incident happens. You can tell them to ask for help from uniformed personnel or another parent with kids. Alternatively, you can advise them to stay where they or go to a specific spot to meet you.

Practice makes perfect, so be sure to go over these instructions with your children several times so they remember it. To be sure, have them repeat it back to you so you can verify if they have understood what you said. You can also point out where there nearest community building or police station/outpost is so they can see where they can call for help.

  1. Keep them busy and entertained

There’s a higher chance that kids will give you meltdowns if they are bored. So, make sure you always give them something to do. Little kids are, no doubt, adorable, but they can also be really mischievous. Bring small toys or art kits with you when you travel, or be ready with movies or downloaded games they can watch and play on your gadget during those long waits. Or you can have them take a nap!

  1. Track your children

Curious kids are prone to pulling those heart-stopping disappearing acts. To prevent this hassle, you can have them wear tracking devices so you’ll know exactly when they’ve strayed from the group and where to find them. Now your family can get into the busy sections of the night market and crowded tourist attractions without you worrying constantly where your children are. These wearable gadgets come in cute designs and colors that your children won’t know it’s your way to monitoring them. Some even play music and have games built in.

  1. Make information cards or IDs

Have your kids wear IDs or keep information cards in their pocket in case they do get lost. These should contain your names, contact numbers, and anything else that can be used to reach you. Make sure to update these cards when you change destinations.

  1. Bring a medical kit and some snacks

Scrapes, bumps, and falls are normal when you have kids, so having a medical kit always with you is a smart decision when on vacation. Put in Band-Aids, mild painkillers, disinfectant sprays, and other medical essentials so you’re always ready for anything. If your child requires special attention, make sure that you’ve packed all his or her meds, as well (plus backup).

More importantly, always bring water and some snacks. Kids get thirsty and hungry at the most awkward times. Arming yourself with their essentials ensure that they stay calm and satisfied. You don’t want your kid wailing for treats when you’re all waiting in line for a ride at a theme park.

  1. Check your insurance

Go over your insurance policy and find out if it offers coverage for trips aboard, or even just local trips. If you don’t see anything travel-related on print, it’s worth calling up your insurer to ask about it. You might not think that insurance is necessary for vacations but you’ll be thankful that you included it in your planning should something untoward does happen. In its absence, you can also avail of supplemental insurance. Also check the hospitals where you will be going and find out if they take your insurance. Although nobody wants to dwell on the negative when planning a vacation, it pays to be on the safe side, especially since you’ll be traveling with children.

Overall, always have a Plan B. As parents, the key to an enjoyable vacation with children in tow is to prepare for the worst. That way, when something does happen, you know your heart won’t jump out of your throat because you’re confidently well equipped. Compared to traveling with grownups, trips with kids require extra research and readiness. Don’t fret too much over all the planning that you need to do. When you see those smiles and all the fun everyone is having, everything will be worth it.

10 Ways To Make Your Home Safer For Older Family Members

You want to have a home that is seen as a place of refuge by all members of the family, regardless of age. As our loved ones age, you will need to make some changes to how your spaces are laid out to keep everybody happy, healthy, and safe. Whether you are preparing your home for the coming of elderly family members or just want to ensure that their visits are enjoyable, there are simple and easy updates you can make to ensure security.

One of the most common issues that ageing people face is limited mobility. Thus, when revising your home, you should focus on home safety measures that also preserve their independence. Here are 10 tips on upgrading your house to make each room senior-friendly.

  1. Secure all your rugs

Use grip tapes or non-slip backings to secure area rugs to their place. There are plenty of affordable solutions that are a breeze to install. In addition to ensuring that your rugs don’t move, gel-based grippers also help in keeping them from curling or running. These items can be reactivated using water if you need to remove it temporarily when cleaning. Gel grippers are a popular choice for backing loose rugs because they do not leave residue and marks on the floor. They also work on rugs that are placed on top of carpeting.

  1. Replace or fix dangerous flooring

Elderly members usually drag their feet when walking and have balance issues. Thus, slick surfaces like tiles and hardwood, as well as high-pile carpets, are a huge no-no. These potentially hazardous elements can cause slips and falls. If your parents or grandparents are moving to your home, you might want to redo your risky floors. Replace carpets with low-pile varieties and take note of the slip rating of certain floor materials to ensure that those areas that see high traffic are as safe as can be.

  1. Make the stairs easier to climb

Avoid stair-related accidents by adding elements to your stairs that add extra grip. You can install grip tape to bare stairs. There are also non-slip mats that work nicely on the steps with or without carpeting. If an elderly family member is moving in, it is unavoidable that he or she uses the stairs. If your budget permits, you can install a stair-assist chair or stair lifts with adjustable seats to help make going up and down so much easier and faster for the seniors.

  1. Make passageways well lighted

Ideally, senior citizens will not have to climb and down the stairs. If you have a spare room at the ground level or can convert your TV room to accommodate guests, that’s where they should be. In any case, you must provide adequate lighting on all staircases, hallways, and passageways so they can clearly see where they are going, even without glasses on. You can install motion sensor lighting that turn on only when movement is detected. These types of lights are easy to install and will not put a huge dent on your electricity bill.

  1. Install hand rails and grab bars

Handrails and grab bars are two of easiest ways to boost your home’s safety for elderly members. Hallways, stairs, bathrooms, and even bedrooms should have these because it will help keep the seniors moving around more securely. Grab bars are made of different materials and can accommodate varying weights. They provide additional stability in the shower, in the bath, near the toilet, or anywhere else. They are also easy to install at any angle of your choosing.

  1. Add a shower bench to bath

A shower stool or bench lets your elderly members enjoy a bath independently while lowering the risk for slips and falls. Many bench models can stand on their own in the bathroom, but a transfer bench provides added security as the user gets inside or exits the shower. Before buying a bench, check first its maximum weight capacity to ensure that your senior family member is accommodated safely. This bench is also useful for individuals with limited mobility or those just recovering from an injury or surgery.

  1. Change the tub to a walk-in type

If your elderly family member is staying for an indefinite period (or permanently) you might want to consider upgrading your regular bathtub to a walk-in type. It also affords your loved ones a safe and convenient way to bathe independently. Before buying a new tub, make sure that is compliant with the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Walk-in bathtubs are also great for the rest of your household.

  1. Install bed rails

Bed rails assist elderly members as they get in and out of the bed. There are plenty of accessory options in the market, most of which are very easy to install. Most rails are simply fit between mattresses and box springs. Some even come with pockets to hold magazines, books, or anything else that seniors need to have on hand. Bed rails are also useful for people with limited mobility who need to change sleeping positions on their own. Whether it’s installed for permanent support or as a temporary acessory following a surgery, this will help ensure safety during bedtime.

  1. Install a security system

It might seem too much, but you can’t really go wrong with the added comfort that you and your elderly family members need. There are security systems that project videos in real time to your smartphone so you can check on your loved ones anytime you want. You can also pre-set the system to send out alerts in case somebody unexpectedly leaves your home or steps on the yard. Security devices are particularly useful if your senior members are prone to wandering off or have memory loss problems.

  1. Use home automation

An automated home is not just for your convenience, it also helps secure your elderly members. For example, a smart thermostat controller can automatically adjust the air conditioner or heater to keep your loved ones comfortable. Automated lights can also be remotely operated or pre-set to turn off and on at specific times of the day. If you’re unsure what type of home automation device to get, you can start with simple systems that offer both temperature and lighting features to turn your home into a safer space for everyone.

Overall, keeping your home safe is crucial if you have elderly family members. Set your home up to make them feel welcome and calm by taking into consideration the kinds of assistance they need. Start by applying simple home upgrades and then you can decide to fully automate next time as you get more accustomed to the technology.

5 Types of Businesses That Need Security Systems The Most

Given today’s threats, businesses should have security systems in place to protect their investments and themselves. One of the biggest security issues that entrepreneurs face, no matter the type of business, is thievery. Whether it’s shoplifting, a burglary, or any type of theft, any business that has money or goods onsite is a potential target.

There are, however, specific types of businesses that are more attractive to burglars compared to others. For obvious reasons, these stores are considered lucrative targets because of the high value of the items that are kept in the premises. It could also be because of the large amounts of money being exchanged on site. In addition, even with not too many valuables in store, businesses that have little to no security protection set up are also viewed as easy targets.

In any case, there are certain types of businesses that require more advanced security systems because they are favorite targets. Some are even so prone to burglaries that they need to have securty staff posted on site. Here are some of the stores that get the most attention from thieves.

 

  1. Jewelry shops

Jewelry stores are a massive target because of the value of the pieces they keep at their site. Burglars know that your items are more than just the ones on display and that you may have the more expensive piece in a vault, making your business all the more attractive. Thus, there is no doubt about the need to have a comprehensive security system for the protection of the stocks and for the personnel.

Even the small jewelry shops necessitate a security system. While these stores operate at a smaller scale and may have lower priced items in stock, being lax with security measures still makes them a viable target.

  1. Banks

There is no argument to this. Banks, big or small, should have a thorough security system in place, not just in terms of technology but also on-site guards. Dealing with huge amounts of cash will always make banks a target. Granted, trying to steal from banks is too risky for thieves, but because the monetary gains are so high, some are willing to go forward and take the risk.

  1. Retail stores

Retailers are often the target of shoplifters, if not hijackers or hold-uppers. This is because the stocks are displayed in the open and there are only so many staff to look around. Small items can be easily stuffed into pockets and purses, and some products aren’t even attached with security beepers to alert personnel if you’re trying to sneak something out.

Retailers are also a favorite of robbers because of the amount of cash that goes into the register all day. These stores are not just restricted to department store brands. They can also cover supermarkets, convenience stores, clothing outlets, and more.

  1. Distribution centers and warehouses

Any establishment that holds huge amounts of valuable stock on site will need ample security systems set up. This is particularly true for warehouses and distribution centers because they tend to bulk numbers of high-value items, such as electronics, appliances, and limited edition toys, and other valuable goods. One of the biggest issues with these large storage spaces is that there often blind spots. This means that one of the threats to security can come from inside, thus making the need to install security systems all the more urgent.

  1. Money changers and remittance centers

The amount of cash exchange in money changing outlets is enough to make burglars see stars. People go in and out of these small stores and often there’s no security personnel posted save for a single camera. Remittance centers, in particular, are always ready with a large amount of cash in case a customer walks in and needs to claim money or exchange their notes for another currency. For this type of business, it’s not enough to have a view cam installed. The premises should have several set up at strategic places as well as on-site security guards to provide added safety.

What Do Thieves Look For?

Some of the factors that thieves consider when looking for a target include how much cash stays in the premises, the presence of expensive goods, operating times (shops that open late are easier targets), the presence of on-site security personnel, and the number of employees inside the store at any given time. In short, regardless of the type of business you are in, if thieves see that you don’t have any security systems set up, you will definitely be their next victim.

If you own a business and are concerned about its security, it’s best to get in touch with professional security providers to get advice on the best type of setup for your specific needs. You might be asked to hire personnel to keep you safe on site or to install cameras, alarms, and the like at the premises. Some security services also provide you with a sort of panic button that lets you send a signal to the local police if you find yourself in distress or are threatened by a burglar.

As an added precaution, you might also want to rethink the way you hire your staff. Most store burglaries are inside jobs; either your employee himself or herself steals or he/she tips an outsider on the best times to come in and take things. Your staff will be the best resource for your “dead” hours and they could exploit that knowledge and take turn on you. Run background checks on applicants and don’t forego checking their references. No matter how much you feel your employees can be trusted, it’s best to be cautious.

Overall, your security needs will depend on the type of business that you own. Regardless if you own a small shop or a high-value operation, the need to put security systems in place is imperative. Talk to your chosen security provider about the most efficient and budget-friendly options available for your peace of mind today.

8 Ways To Ensure Your Kitchen Is Safe

With all the cutting tools, flames, and scalding hot grease that is common to kitchens, it is not surprising that government safety boards list it as the most dangerous room in the household. Every year, emergency rooms log thousands of Americans rushed to the hospital because of kitchen-related injuries. This is why it is imporant for you to put safety measures in place to protect you and your family. Whether you’re a veteran chef or a budding Martha Stewart, the safety tips we will discuss here will give you sound advice on preventing accidents from happening to you.

You don’t want to be the ER’s next kitchen injury statistic. Here are eight ways to ensure that it is a safe space.

  1. Practice Claygo

Clean up immediately everytime you prepare anything in the kitchen, whether it’s a full meal or just a bowl of cereal. If you have kids in the house, or even just clumsy people, it’s very easy to spill something. When it does happen, be sure to wipe the mess up immediately to prevent an accident. Even a small spill or a bit of food presents a risk of falls. Oil and grease are equally dangerous. Make Claygo, or clean-as-you-go, a habit and make sure the rest of the household practices that, as well.

  1. Understand how fire works

Fires are exacerbated with exposure to oxygen, so don’t fan it out or expose it to air even more. What works instantly is smothering it with a pot cover or a wet rag. If you’re facing a fire caused by grease, covering the pan, or putting salt or baking soda will put it out. Never ever use water to put out kitchen fires. If it happens in the microwave, you can manage it by pulling the plug. If it’s in the oven, you can use baking soda or, if you have one, a fire extinguisher.

  1. Believe in the power of your fire extinguisher

The fire extinguisher is probably the most important part of your kitchen, so you don’t downplay its role. In fact, all kitchens should have one. There are smaller fire extinguishers that are suited for small kitchen use. It’s doubly important that you also know how to use it. Don’t just put it on display and not bother to learn how to operate it. Store it in a space that can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.

  1. Test your smoke detector

According to the US Fire Administration, households that do not have smoke detectors installed have a higher chance of catching fire — and most of these accidents start in the kitchen. The USFA records more than 150,000 fires related to cooking mishaps. Having smoke detectors (that work) is one major step towards early detection and prevention. Some smoke detection systems are built into security systems so why not get the full deal, right? Detectors should also be tested every three months to check their viability.

  1. Be cautious with your accessories and clothes

Your clothes and accessories are a potential fire hazard. Long sleeves, scarves, and long hair can catch fire, jewelry can get caught on handles, and belts can pull cooking pans off the stove. When you’re in the kitchen, pay attention to what you’re wearing and make sure nothing’s hanging loosely. Pan handles should also be turned so they don’t accidentally get caught in your clothes or grabbed your kids or pets.

  1. Steam is very dangerous

Statistics show that over 100,000 emergency room cases in the US are related to scald burns every year. This involves boiling water, hot beverages, faucets with hot features, and even steam. Usually steam isn’t seen as a hazard, but it can actually burn you badly. It’s effect is more severe than freshly boiled water.

When you lift the lid of a pot of boiling water or pull the wrap or cover off something that’s just been microwaved, be very careful. Let members of the family know too. Microwave popcorn is delicious, but they shouldn’t be too quick to open that bag and make sure the opening is facing away from them when they strip it off.

  1. Sanitize everything

In addition to accidents, germs are the biggest threat in the kitchen. Because of the moisture and varying food stuff that go through your kitchen on a daily basis, it is actually a haven for bacteria to thrive (more than any other space in your house). To make sure that your kitchen is not just squeaky clean but also sanitized, clean surfaces with a water and bleach solution as often as you can. There are also organic and environment friendly solutions available to be safer. Cutting boards should be cleaned after each use, while sponges and dishwipes should be replaced often.

  1. Keep children and pets out

Kids enjoy whipping up meals with their parents. To avoid injury, you must orient them properly with the risks for injury. It’s okay to play around in the kitchen, but when there’s something cooking, young children should be kept as far away as possible. Take note that ovens, toasters and the other heating appliances don’t cool down immediately and can present a danger to both children and pets. To be sure, just declare the kitchen as a “no pet zone” or “no kids zone.”

Installing Alarms & Smart Systems

Of course, you can’t always control what goes on in the kitchen, so having a smart home monitoring system can help. It can let you know immediately if there is a change in tempeature, if there’s a fire starting, and if there are restricted doors or drawers being opened. It can even send you alerts if small children are wandering off that space unsupervised. In addition to get alerts in real-time, you can also install cameras so you can get a visual of what’s going on as it happens, even if you’re at the office.

Overall, while having a 100% safe kitchen is not really possible, there are measures that you can set in place to make the risk of accidents and injury a lot smaller. Having precautionary systems installed plus the ability to visually monitor what’s going is important, especially if you have small children, elderly family members, pets, or are generally forgetful.