What’s the most effective way to make sure no one’s sneaking in and around your house when you’re away or asleep? That should be easy — a motion sensor. Also called motion detector, this device would help owners identify “uninvited guests” and get them behind bars immediately.
A motion sensor makes use of one or multiple technologies to detect movement in a specific area. If a sensor is tripped, it will send an alert to your security system, which is synchronized to your monitoring center, informing you and the security center of an intrusion.
There are many different types of motion sensors available in the market today, but without proper knowledge, you might end up having an inefficient security system. Before giving in to your impulse, here are the things you need to know about motion detectors.
- What is the purpose of a motion sensor?
As the name suggests, a motion sensor detects movement. The signal it emits is sent to an alarm panel. Unlike window or door sensors, a motion sensor is capable of securing a space effectively, which means users don’t have to install a sensor on each door or window. A single motion sensor can secure a large area and is a more affordable option for homeowners. Additionally, motion sensors consume very little power and can last up to five years.
- What is a driveway motion detector?
Driveway motion detectors are commonly installed in driveways, but they also work in sheds, pools, and stables. The standard basic model has a range of around 400 feet, apt for shorter driveways. If you’re trying to secure larger structures, however, such as warehouse complexes or private hiking trails, you will need a special long range model that can cover up to half a mile.
- Why is my motion sensor giving false detections?
Motion sensors can sometimes be triggered by sudden sounds or bursts of air. For example, moving window blinds within range of the sensor can set it off because the sensor will become suspicious and react. There’s a remedy to this situation though. You can adjust your sensor so that it would not react to sudden moving objects. However, if you’re still experiencing it despite making adjustments, you might want to send in a technician to have the unit checked or replaced.
- Is there such a thing as a motion detector guard dog?
As silly as it may sound, motion detector guard dogs actually exist. You can install one near your front door and when someone approaches, the unit will produce barking sounds. A lot of motion sensors can detect the slightest of movements through windows and doors, so it’s pretty easy to secure the unit where it’s hard to see. There are also models in which the user can adjust the volume and speed of the bark depending on how far or near the intruder is. This is ideal for people who want a guard dog but don’t actually want to deal with real pets.
- Can pets trigger motion sensors?
They can, actually. But there are passive infrared sensors that can ignore animals up to a certain weight. Motion sensors with dual technology can prevent false alarms caused by pets because two detectors need to be set off instead of one. By making adjustments, special sensors like these can ignore small pets or large ones. These sensors can also be programmed to ignore non-human behavior activity.
- What is a motion flood light?
Motion flood lights are a type of sensors that turn on a light to let you know it senses motion instead of sending off a signal to a control panel. If the floodlight detects a burglar or a visitor, the unit will illuminate. If it’s the owner of the property, however, you can make it to your house without setting off the alarm. There are many different types of motion floodlights. The basic models are those that stay put, but fancier models can light up patterns so that it pins the burglar in place. You can also program the floodlight to switch off at daytime.
- Can I use a motion sensor besides for security purposes?
Yes. Motion sensors aren’t only used for home security. They can also be used to shut down equipment or track the number of products inside a facility. Other purposes of motion detectors are the following:
- For parking meters
- For ticket gates
- To control ATM displays
- To turn on lights if people enter
- To trigger toilets and water faucets
- To close and open automatic doors
- Should I use a wireless or wired motion sensor?
The answer to this question depends on your need and the size of the area you want to secure. With a wireless motion sensor, you can experiment with the different areas you want to install it to get you the best range. It can be a bit tricky though. If you set it too low, your pet might trigger more often than you need. If it’s too high, burglars can easily get away. Install it in the right height and you can nab burglars and don’t have to deal with false alarms caused by your pets. Take note, however, that a wireless motion sensor can only cover 400 feet of your area. If you want to secure a much bigger space, go for a wired sensor instead.
- Where should I put a motion sensor?
Although you can install motion sensors inside your home, it is best to position them in areas leading to your front and back door, driveways, and windows. That way, alarms and lights will come on when somebody arrives. You can also install them in stairways, pools, patios, and decks.
- Other than lights and alarm, what are other ways can a motion sensor help secure my property?
If your motion sensor is part of your home security, it will likely come with an auto dialer. This means you won’t manually have to call the police or the security system company. It will automatically dial their numbers once the sensor detects an intruder. A pre-recorded message will play over and over again so that the authorities are informed of your identity and address.
If you have been shopping for security or surveillance cameras, you have probably realized its importance and how it can stop break-ins and burglary. Having surveillance cameras around your property will make sure that you and your family are safe, and that your valuables are intact. However, regardless of the quality of your security camera, it will be useless if you place it in all the wrong areas.
Knowing where to install these cameras will assure you of optimal security. And if you want to nab criminals and thieves, it’s crucial they’re set up in the right location. Here are the best places to position surveillance cameras.
- Front Door
According to security experts, about 34% of thieves and burglars enter your home through the front door. Naturally, you would want to install a surveillance camera near it. To prevent intruders from avoiding your camera, place it somewhere near the second-floor level of your house focusing on the front door. If you live in a single-level home, protect your camera with a mesh wiring to prevent thieves from tampering it.
- Back Door
A lot of homeowners forget to lock their backdoors. Some even don’t bother to secure it well because their focus is on the front door. Burglars know this fact, so it’s not really a question why most of them gain entry to your house using the rear door. Don’t forget to install double locks on your back door too, and place a camera that’s way out of reach. While the front door cam should be not visible, your back door cam can serve as a deterrent.
- First Floor Window
Besides serving as a point of entry for burglars, your first-floor window is a way to assess the inside of your home. Through here, they can look for valuables in plain sight and will attempt to memorize the floor plan for them to escape quickly or detect places where they can possibly hide. By installing a surveillance camera pointing towards your window, you can capture images of unknown people trying to assess your house, and it’s possible they are captured before a forced entry takes place.
The garage of your house is also attractive to thieves because it regularly opens and closes and burglars can tell its insides in full view once in a while. When installing a security camera inside your garage, make sure it captures the entire space so you will know where and how the thief broke in. Exterior surveillance cameras can also be installed near your home, but make sure it covers all the walls outside of your garage to know where the burglar might break in.
Stairways are points in and around your home and are used to get around your property. For this reason, installing a security camera in stairways is a smart idea. Stairs located outside your home can be an attractive entry point and it may also be used to access a roof. This unusual way of breaking into your home is done by criminals to avoid security cameras and alarms.
Stairs inside the property, however, is the only area in your home where burglars might slow down a little bit. We all know that burglary can happen so fast, but if you take an image of the stairs, you may still be able to identify your intruders.
6. Off-Street Windows
Windows not easily seen by passersby are a common entry point for burglars because it decreases their chances of being caught. By strategically placing a security camera with a view of your back window, you will be able to identify the burglars. You can also get one of those wireless security cameras that can be controlled remotely so you can still view your back windows from your tablet or any mobile device.
Installing surveillance cameras in the backyard can be tricky because some backyards are way too huge for just one camera. You may need to install several of them so that you can capture every nook and cranny. A camera pointed at your backyard will also inform you if the unusual noise you’re hearing is caused by animals or a strong wind. If it is an intruder, it will also capture his face so you can present it as proof.
- Side Gate
While it is common to see surveillance cameras on the front gate, you rarely see one in side gates. Your side gate may be smaller, but it doesn’t mean it won’t serve as a point of entry to uninvited guests. After all, even small windows can be crawled in by thieves. Your side gate camera should have a motion sensor floodlight to alert you if there is an intruder. This is also a way to scare burglars off knowing they are clearly visible. Some thieves are also intimidated by the sight of a surveillance camera, so it’s okay to put one in plain sight.
While not a lot of people think about installing surveillance cameras in their kitchens, you might want to consider putting one as there are also valuables in it. Unplanned robberies can also take place out of nowhere, and typically, thieves will get anything they can put their hands on. Your kitchen appliances and expensive cutlery can be sold or pawned, too, just so you know.
- Hallways Leading to Bedrooms
Not everybody is willing to install a surveillance camera inside their bedrooms, but you can still protect your family or friends by putting a camera in the hallway. Through this, you have a way of knowing who goes in and out of the bedroom. You can install get a camera that you can control remotely, so even if you have one camera in the hallway, you can still navigate its entirety, zoom and out, and check for signs of break-ins no matter where you are. If you have small kids, you might be able to install surveillance cams inside the bedroom.
Surveillance cameras aren’t just a fancy accessory in your home. When properly placed, you attain peace of mind whether you’re asleep or away on vacation.
You may think that small businesses are not vulnerable to cybercrimes just like big corporations. But in fact, about 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Micro companies, in general, are not as secure compared to large-scale businesses because of budget issues and because they are “small.” Although these businesses are literally less far-reaching compared to large corporations, the security threats they experience are not small, at all. They easily fall victim to hacking, malware, spyware, ransomware, and security breaches because of their low-priced and dated protection.
Cybersecurity should be one of the top priorities for your small business, but how do you keep your business protected from these cyber threats without spending too much? Here are some cybersecurity tips that are simple yet effective for small business owners. These can help reduce the risks of ransomware, malware, and hacking.
1. Use strong passwords
If you use passwords that are very easy to figure out such as 1234, 0000, or ABCD, it would be like a walk in the park for hackers to acquire your system’s password. Strong passwords are comprised of alphanumeric and special characters that are case-sensitive. The more random the combination, the better it is. If your passwords are secure, it will be difficult for someone to figure it out and hack it. Inform your employees as well to create secure passwords.
2. Decrease the number of attempts for entering the password
Someone who will try to access your system will try all sorts of different passwords randomly until they hit the jackpot and open your account. This can mean that your account is still not safe even with a 6-digit pin that has a million unique possible number combinations. You have to be aware that there are password-cracking software nowadays that can guess your code in a few minutes. So to avoid falling victim to these hackers, you should limit the number of attempts for your authentication process. In most cases, the number of attempts is limited to 3, so after the third attempt, you can no longer try to enter the password.
3. Password manager software
A password manager tool that creates and stores the password can be helpful for you. But you have to think carefully when choosing one. Remember that this tool stores all passwords in its database; so for a hacker, all he needs is to crack one code. That is why you need to think of its advantages and disadvantages before you use one for your business.
4. On-screen keyboard option
If you are not yet aware, there are hackers that can record your keystrokes using keylogging software. This is common if you’re using shared networks. What you can do to avoid this is by using an on-screen or virtual keyboard. The keylogging software will not be able to track keys that you enter on the on-screen keyboard because you’re only operating it using mouse clicks. This is commonly used in financial establishments.
Data backups are important. But you have to be careful of any negligence or mishandling of these backups because this can make your data vulnerable to theft. Example, if you choose to keep your data in the cloud, you have to encrypt and keep your documents protected with a password before storing them on the cloud or a remote server, so that no one can access your data easily.
6. Inform your employees about cybersecurity
Although you might think that security breach is not so common for small businesses, it is good that you educate your employees about cybersecurity. We do not want to wait for a security breach to happen before we train your employees about it, right? Here are some things you need to remember when teaching your employees about cybersecurity.
- Train everyone. No exemptions.
- Conduct seminars about cybersecurity often
- Talk to employees about cybersecurity regularly
- Inform them how they can recognize a possible attack
- Test your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge
- Be able to identify threats within your company
- Emphasize policies about hacking, data breach and use of devices in your company
7. Do not store the customer’s CVV or any credit card information
Keeping the customer’s credit card information with the customer’s permission can make transactions in the future more convenient. On the other hand, this can put your customer’s confidential information at risk. While it can be a little more convenient to store the CVV number, it would not bother the customer at all to enter the CVV during checkout. This is for their safety, as well.
8. Control Access to your systems and network devices
Never let any outsider or unauthorized person use your system and other devices. If there is a need for someone to use or access it, in the case of a technician from another firm, let them use a general computer or make sure to have someone supervise them during their tasks. Lock or shut down your computer after leaving them and make sure your employees do the same, as well. Also, make sure to monitor your employees’ personal devices.
9. Update your security software always.
Make sure your security software is up-to-date. Do not ignore the prompts on your screen that remind you to upgrade and update your software. This will make sure that your computer is protected from malware, ransomware, and hacking.
Software manufacturers provide software updates to address security risks for their products that can be exposed to hackers. These updates usually contain vulnerability fixes and enhancements. What is good about these updates is that they are added onto the existing installation. Make sure you choose a quality and trusted software to protect your system.
10. Keep your networks secure
Make sure your Wi-Fi network is hidden, or if not hidden, is secured with a password, to avoid any unauthorized access. You can hide your SSID or Wi-Fi name and encrypt and set a password for your access point.
There are simple ways to ensure that you don’t fall victim to hackers. All you need to do is keep these tips in mind, so you can avoid any security risks that can harm your business.
Every business, whether big or small, has important and valuable things that you need to protect such as files, products that you sell, or other assets. It is not even just limited to your products, but the safety your customers and employees, as well. One of the most important things you need to consider for your business is its security.
There are a lot of different business security systems that can fit your needs. They come in different sizes and have different features. They do not just keep you safe from thieves but may also protect you against fire and other accidents. Even small businesses need security services and solutions. But the question is: which security system is best one?
Here are different kinds of security systems that can help protect your business without spending too much.
1. Video Surveillance
Video surveillance protects the office or the entire premises of where you house your business; not just inside, but also the area outside. You might want to consider getting this type of security system if you want to see what is happening to your office or business 24/7. A lot of systems now can let you connect through your mobile devices, so you can see what is going on even when you’re out of the office, or even out of town. This type of security system allows you to check on your customers and employees. It can also help you have proof of activity in case you may need to file insurance claims for theft or damages.
Choosing the right video surveillance system would depend on what you exactly need. You can look for a vendor to have them help you set everything up or you can also try to research on your own and buy the cameras and accessories yourself.
2. Intrusion Detection Alarm
This alarm protects everything inside your store or the building. It also protects your business from theft, vandalism, or intruders. Having intrusion detection alarms is also necessary for your business. We do not want to wait for an incident to happen, such as a burglary or a disruption in operating processes, to happen before getting an alarm system, right? This system protects your business not just from burglars and even from employee theft; it also protects your employees while they are on duty.
Detection alarms include a lot of different gadgets that can detect entry, such as sensors and motion detectors. These are monitored by a third-party vendor that is immediately alerted when there is forced entry or unauthorized access. These monitoring centers are available round-the-clock, all year round. When these vendors are alerted of an intrusion, they usually call you seconds after to check if police should be dispatched to the area.
3. Computer security system
Computer security systems protect your business files, documents, customer information, and software that help you run your business. It is important to have these things protected. Hackers not only target large companies but small businesses, as well. You need to protect your computer system from viruses, spyware, and other cyber threats. Also, most of the businesses right now use a computer system, with most of the work usually completed through it. Imagine how much money you stand to lose when there is loss of productivity and interruption in the business.
Invest in a good firewall and antivirus software that can stop viruses and hackers at the gateway into the network. You can also keep any information or documents safe by keeping it virtually via secure online services.
4. Electronic Access Control Systems
Access control protects certain areas or rooms in your office or building that should have limited access, or areas that should not be accessed by everyone. With access control systems you protect your establishment from a possible security breach. Instead of having a traditional lock and key system, which can pose a great risk since the physical key can be duplicated, you will need a keycard or use biometrics to enter areas that are protected by access control. Everything is digitized with this type of security system. You can control who is allowed to enter and when. You can even block access after business hours.
5. Public Address Systems
You might think, what do I need those PA systems for if I’m just a small store? Public address systems let you broadcast information and music in a snap. It allows you to communicate information and alerts as soon as possible to everyone in the office or building.
Having such system allows you to communicate quickly. Whether you need to announce any special occasion or remind your employees about a meeting, you can immediately notify your employees through a PA system. You can also use this system to broadcast alarms. If there has been a security breach in the building or any danger to your employees or customers, you have to inform them as soon as possible. You can either use simple alarm sounds or verbal codes as soon as you find out any problem that needs everyone’s attention.
There are plenty of vendors and companies that can provide you very good security coverage for your small business. They can devise and customize the best technology when it comes to software and equipment related to controlling and security. You can make a shortlist of these vendors and choose which one can give you the best offer that’s fit for your budget. This way you know what is happening in your business and you are alerted as soon as there is a problem.
For very small enterprise, there are also do-it-yourself options for you if you are a bit tight on the budget. You can always search for the best video surveillance cameras or any security system that you prefer and buy it on your own and just search the web on how to install and set it up. What matters is you keep your business, your products, and your employees safe from any danger that may arise.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 2 million households are robbed in the US every year. This means that someone breaks into a house about every thirteen seconds. This is one of the reasons why home security systems have been invented. With the technological advancements in the present time, this tech is now designed with more features and gadgets that offer the protection that you need for your entire house.
A home security system consists of security cameras, a DVR system, and a control panel to make all these parts work together. Expensive gadgets come with built-in Wi-Fi cameras, making it less complicated when it comes to wiring between the control system and visuals. The systems become more advanced through the years, adding more features like motion detection, night vision cameras, and wireless cloud storage capabilities.
These new devices are even compatible with your smart phones, keeping you updated and notified about the security of your house round-the-clock. It allows you to watch any part of your home anywhere you are. But, before we go and get a home security system to protect your house, there are things that we need to consider. In choosing a home security system, be sure you go for the package that includes security cameras, DVR, video cables, and power supply cables. The DVR system should have all the wires needed to connect the cameras and monitors.
To make the search easier, here are 12 things you should consider before signing off on any tech purchase.
- The difference between a Wireless and Hardwired Home Security System. You need to understand the difference between the two. With a wireless security system, there will be no cables to run other than the electrical cords on the control panel. You can install a wireless security system and save a few bucks on installation fees because you can do it yourself. For hardwired systems, these usually require you to do a lot of drilling on the walls to run the cables and connect everything to your home’s circuit breaker. This will also require the services of a professional installer.
- Home Security Systems vs. Burglar Alarms. These two are totally different. Burglar alarms use sensors on doors and windows that will notify you or the police if someone entered your house without authorization. A home system has more benefits. It does not only alert you if there’s a burglar, but it can also notify you if there’s a fire or even when there’s a flood. Always make sure you know what you’re getting with the security system you’re planning to set up and see the features are suited to your specific needs.
- Compare different security providers. Get at least three or four quotes from well-established companies that offer system installation and monitoring. You can also check the company’s ratings with the Better Business Bureau. A quick online search and scanning local discussion boards about security services will also give you a good idea about other people’s experience with various firms. A personal recommendation from a family member or friend is also valuable.
- Power Outages. Most of the security systems continue to function even when there is a power outage. Traditional home security systems are low in energy, so it doesn’t use much power to keep the system running. Also, most systems include a backup battery. If you live in an area that’s prone to power outages, such as those exposed to storms more often, having this tech as part of your system is important.
- Solar-powered security systems. You can opt for security systems that are solar-powered, but they can be more expensive than regular ones. You can use this for just an outdoor security camera or use it for the entire home security system. The investment will be worth it in the long run.
- Consider the size. There is no one-size-fits-all design when it comes to your home’s security. A compact system may be okay for a small apartment or condos. However, if you’re trying to secure a larger house, you need a network that can handle more information and monitoring. A larger coverage also means a more comprehensive assessment of your safety needs, so it’s probably best to get in touch with a security expert to make sure you don’t overlook anything.
- For those interested in setting up surveillance cameras, you need to understand the difference between live videos and recorded videos. Do you want to watch a live feed of what’s happening at home while you’re gone? Or would you prefer to just watch a recording? IP cameras feature live feeds because they can be directly connected to the Internet while a DVR system lets you watch video recordings later on. IP systems can also be viewed in real-time using your smartphone, tablet, or PC, even if you’re miles away.
- Invest in a good quality camera. Webcams from retail stores will not get the job done if you are serious about setting up your home security system. These cameras are typically designed for video chatting. Look for dome cameras, instead. Also, consider the type of images it generates, whether it’s black and white, colored, or infrared. Consider the quality of the photos and the view range. How many cameras would you need to cover the entire home? How high-quality would you like the images to be? Take note of the optional features for the cameras such as motion detectors, night vision, face detection, audio and video recording, and if it’s weatherproof.
- The contract. You need to understand what’s included in your contract. Some security companies may offer you add-on services or devices, so you need to know exactly what you need and what’s covered by the contract you signed up for. Ask about the monthly charges, installation and monitoring fees. How long is the contract? Can you terminate it any time?
- Security Upgrades. There are some easy security upgrades that you can do by yourself, in addition to your installed network. Make sure to lock all your doors and windows and install a deadbolt as reinforcement. Placing motion sensors outside can also be of great help; same with having dogs and “beware of dog” signs.
- Monitoring. Home security systems come with a monitor that allows the displaying of multiple screens at the same time, with each screen showing its view through a separate channel. The monitor can either be connected using video cables, or if you are using a Wi-Fi-based security system you can monitor channels using your computer through a web browser and a dedicated IP address.
- Asset protection devices. You can protect your valuables by installing devices that have asset protection. If your valuables have been tampered, like if your jewelry box or safe had been opened or moved, this will send you an alert.
Keeping our house secure is one the most crucial concerns that deserve our attention. We always want to make sure that we have the best system installed for our sake and our families’. A good home security system is something we should consider getting to protect all our valuable assets.
Networking via social media is one of the newest and most popular ways of interacting with people around the globe. About 35 percent of adults have accounts with at least one social networking website and there are those who have multiple accounts on different platforms. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent use these sites to catch up and communicate with friends, 57 percent do so to set plans with friends, and 49% to meet new people.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram are just some of the top networking sites that connect people around the world. Sometimes we become too excited to share our thoughts, feelings, and important events. It has become a habit for us to share details about our daily lives. But when do we set a limit on what we share about our selves, our families, and friends?
In the same Pew Research Center study, about 40 percent of users have public access to their online profiles, which allows anyone to view all their information posted. The 60 percent have limited access. Sharing your personal information online can be dangerous because there are certain things that should never be announced. Here are 10 things that you should include on your “never share” list.
- Your Full Date of Birth. While it is a great feeling to be showered with lots of birthday wishes posted on your Facebook page, posting your complete date of birth on your profile can make it easier for identity thieves and online scammers to get one of the most important information about you. Your birth date might be used to steal your identity and open accounts under your name.
- Your Location. Many people may not realize that when you post a tweet or a status update, you can also reveal your current location. Sharing where you are exactly can be risky because it signals to potential thieves that you are not home. This also covers your photos and “check-ins” that have been geotagged. Geotagging reveals the location of a photo that you just posted. Your phone may record the location of the pictures without your knowledge. Make sure to check the privacy settings of your profile because that innocent post from your getaway might give the thieves an idea to rob your house because you’re not home.
- Pictures of your kids or your friend’s kids tagged with their names. Now, this topic can be very sensitive. For users who don’t restrict their profile, the photos you share on social networking sites are there for the public to see. The sad thing is there are a lot of online predators who use these sites to stalk their prey. To ensure your children’s safety, you can opt to share these photos with a selected group only like your family, trusted friends, and co-workers.
- Your complete home address. Again, you never know who might be lurking at your profile. Don’t share this information because it will make it easier for people with bad intentions to get to you. By sharing your address, you are doing identity thieves a favor by giving them the information they can use to impersonate you and take out loans and purchase items under your name.
- Your phone number. Yes, you might consider publishing this on your profile, so your friends can contact you. However, imagine if your phone number goes into the wrong hands. It is possible that your location can be tracked using a reverse lookup tool which is readily available on the Internet. If you really want your friends to know your contact number, you can contact them directly or send them a private message instead of posting it on your public profile.
- Relationship status. Posting your status in your profile can signal your stalkers, especially when you post stuff that you’re alone at home, etc. You can be mysterious, instead, and just put “It’s Complicated” or don’t include anything about your lovelife, at all.
- Private Conversations. Most social media sites have a feature where you can send personal or private messages. Personal matters should never be shared on your Facebook Timeline. The same goes for taking a screenshot of your exchange. This is part of your social networking etiquette. There’s really no official guideline for these things but you can be the best judge. If it’s something that you find uncomfortable sharing, then you shouldn’t post it on your wall.
- Social Plans or travel plans. You shouldn’t be sharing this information because this again signals to criminals that you won’t be home, giving them an opportunity to rob your house. While it can be nice and fun to share your vacation photos as they happen, you can wait until you’re back home to upload your vacation photos, instead. Also, sharing your social plans can pose some security issues. What if a jealous ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend knows that you’re out on a date and would suddenly show up and cause a scene?
- Embarrassing things that you don’t want to be shared with anyone. This is where the saying “think before you click” applies. Before you post anything, think: would I want my family, friends or co-workers to see this? If not, then don’t post it.
- Information about your job or work-related projects. Talking about work-related stuff online is not a good idea. Even if it’s just an innocent status about how frustrated you are about a project can provide information to your competitors and use it as a leverage against your company or business. Any information about your company’s plans for a project or anything at all should be kept private.
Always keep in mind that not everything that happens in your life ought to be shared online. Posting personal and confidential information can put your life, your families’ or your friends’ lives at risk. While it is fun to share about what’s going on, it is best to choose and limit what you post. Better yet, secure your privacy settings so that everything you post will be viewable only by a select number of people – but even THAT isn’t totally foolproof. We should know when to draw the line. It is better to be safe than be sorry.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many people still get victimized by thieving crooks. These fraudsters often integrate old tricks and new technology to entice people to send personal information or their hard-earned cash.
You’ll never know when they’ll strike, but chances are you’ve already had a fair share of questionable posts on social media, fake online ads, ambiguous phone calls, and fraudulent emails. You got lucky if you’ve avoided one or two of these scammers, but don’t get too comfortable. Learn how to outsmart scammers using these ten tips below.
- Avoid Money Transfers
Unless you’re sure of the person’s identity, let’s say you’ve made arrangements with a family member or a close friend, don’t wire cash. Electronic transfers are really convenient but don’t go on sending money to people without confirming who they are first. Additionally, don’t send partial refunds from “secret shopper” or “overpayment” checks.
- Don’t be a Serial “Clicker”
You know those links in your inbox that don’t seem to have a purpose but demand you click them anyway? Do not click them.
Unsolicited links are a dime a dozen on social media these days, and sadly, a friend of yours might have “sent” it to you. Never trust the sender even if you know him/her personally. If you must click, confirm if it was intentional. While you’re waiting for a response, simply ignore the link.
- Get a Security Software
Anti-virus software has its uses, but it’s better to choose products that offer internet security, preferably ones that integrate with your current browser.
Make sure that your software is working properly by keeping it updated, so it automatically informs you of malware. When you receive a warning indicating that your device is infected, check the source. If it doesn’t come from the software you installed, ignore it. This might be a phishing scheme and could be the reason why you got your personal information exposed.
- Beware of Charity Scams
Money collectors aren’t confined to doorsteps anymore — they’re online as well. What’s worse is that not all of them are legit; some use charities to siphon money from you.
If you want to donate, do so personally, or give the charity or non-profit organization a call to confirm if the panhandler or collector is one of their own. If you spot collection boxes in stores, confirm if it’s genuine first before dropping cash in it. You don’t want your money wasted, do you?
- Allow Yourself to Think
Don’t be hasty when making decisions, no matter how enticing the offer is, or how persuasive an offer seems. Often, sales reps will insist you purchase something on the spot to acquire a discount but don’t fall for these tricks.
Remember that a genuine offer from a salesperson will give you time to think before you make a purchase. Although, there are those limited-time offers that pop up once in a while. If you’re really so into a product or service, confirm first. Don’t stress about it. It takes seconds to get a company’s contact information, so choose to spend time confirming the offer rather than falling into regrets later on.
- Take Care of Your Personal Info
Legitimate companies never ask for sensitive information unless you initiated it. Come to think of it; even online banking services don’t ask for your PIN upon logging in — you have an entirely different password. For online purchases, use established services like PayPal, debit or prepaid cards, or one-off credit card numbers. Also, check the address line for an “https.” If a website is without an “s,” avoid it.
- Avoid Buying from People You Don’t Know or Whose Credibility isn’t Verified
This one is a bit tricky, considering most transactions happen online these days. But it’s an undeniable fact that there a lot of questionable websites and online sellers. Good thing you can do a quick credibility check — simple Google search ought to do the job. Better yet, trust bigger sites whose names have been trusted for years now.
Should you choose lesser known sites, always seek references and get feedback from people who have bought from them.
- Avoid Paying for Something That Offers You Earning Opportunities
If you’re one of those people who prefer to seek job opportunities online, don’t spend money upfront. Your goal is to earn cash, so paying for it simply defeats the purpose. It’s not like you’re trying to invest in a business, wherein you’re expected to have a capital. Money-making opportunities online hire workers that they pay, not the other way around. Legit online work doesn’t ask you to pay for training supplies or kits. That’s just sketchy.
- Don’t Believe in Something Without Verification
Or don’t believe that someone is who they say they are unless you know them personally. You might receive a phone call or an email asking to visit your house, maybe to introduce you to a new product or do maintenance check-ups. Confirm their identity first before agreeing to the visitation.
Always ask for an identification card or any proof that they represent a legit company or important person. If they arrive at your doorstep without warning, don’t let them in. Remember that visitations from a company do a follow-up first, or a confirmation that you agree to see any of their representatives. They don’t just appear out of nowhere. This should be your first red flag.
- Always Ask What the Catch is
Offers too good to be true shouldn’t really exist. After all, everybody wants to earn, and they all have a motive. You might spot a bargain that’s hard to resist, but these offers are often bogus and cannot be trusted.
An exception, though, is if you know the seller well. A legit offer always has a catch. Do not be afraid to ask what this is. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Fraudsters are getting increasingly sophisticated and smarter in their attempts to get your personal information and money. It wouldn’t hurt to be extra vigilant instead of feeling sorry in the end.
Now that we are at the peak of the computer age, many homeowners are already considering a new trend that enhances security to keep their dwellings safe and secure. While the traditional bolt, lock, and key combination that has long been protecting our homes continue to serve its purpose to keep intruders out, some homeowners are now considering a more technologically-advanced security option: smart locks.
As the name implies, smart locks are home security devices with wireless control integrated into them. However, because the technology has yet to become common knowledge, we have gathered five things you should know before procuring one for your home.
- Smart locks offer more efficiency and control.
While your old, reliable deadbolt may continue to serve its purpose, having smart locks could also prove to be a good decision, especially if you’re looking for better efficiency and control. Even during this modern age, many consider the traditional padlock and key-locked bolts as the best choice for keeping unwanted guests from entering their home. This is despite the number of breaking-and-entering cases that have been recorded over the years.
Although smart lock manufacturers do not guarantee zero incidents, their products do have advantages.
For one, smart locks make doors easier to close and open, especially when you get home with your hands full. This is done through wireless connectivity. The technology works well with smart phones as the locks detect Bluetooth signals from the device, the same as way as surveillance cameras.
It also allows more convenience, thanks to software that controls the locks from the homeowner’s mobile phone. It can be used even when you are away from the house. This function also works when the owner is already inside by closing the doors remotely.
On top of that, some smart lock software also include an added security feature that shows the user which doors are still open and provides them with the choice to close it remotely. Others also alert users when a door is being opened by an unwanted guest or if a wrong key code, PIN, or digital key is being entered.
- Not all smart locks are the same.
Smart lock manufacturers offer a wide range of products that have varying methods of entry. This includes those that require a PIN code for access, biometric fingerprint scan, and even a proximity card.
There are also types of smart locks that go with varying wireless protocols that potential smart lock buyers should know about to determine which one goes well with their neighborhood.
Those with Wi-Fi in their home have a wide range of options. The advantage of having a smart lock with this type of protocol is the extensive control it offers the user from anywhere, as long as there is an Internet connection. However, this protocol requires additional hardware that could cost more than the other systems. It also burns out the locks’ batteries faster compared to the ones using Bluetooth.
Bluetooth smart locks use up less energy, helping homeowners save on the cost of batteries and the effort in changing them. Unfortunately, this kind of smart lock protocol has a limited range compared to Wi-Fi.
On that note, some smart lock manufacturers offer a third type called the Z-Wave. Smart locks that use this kind need a Z-Wave-compatible hub that looks a lot like a Wi-Fi router. This serves as a translator for the smart lock and Wi-Fi. It doesn’t allow any direct link to the user’s smartphone.
The good news is, it has a wider range than Bluetooth. The bad news, you’ll have to buy another set of hardware to use it.
- Smart locks offer a solution to lost-key and locked-out incidents.
Aside from wireless connectivity, smart locks also offer freedom from unexpected incidents, like when the owners lose the key to their house or get locked out when they accidentally leave the keys inside. The “digital key” feature prevents these from happening.
On top of that, experts say that some smart lock brands offer homeowners an option to give “digital keys” to family members, friends, and other guests who frequent their homes. A similar feature has proven itself useful for establishments that offer temporary lodging, like hotels and apartments, where they use proximity cards to give clients access to the rooms they are renting out.
- Smart locks should go with your traditional deadbolt.
While smart locks do provide extensive convenience and control over the doors of your home, experts still believe that it is best to pair it with a deadbolt system for better security. After all, it is best not to overlook physical security to avoid any untoward incidents.
Choose a quality bolt that is sturdy enough to withstand even powerful physical attacks, such as kicking and smashing. You should also consider deciding to go with one that can survive through basic lock-picking, at the very least, and install it properly with the smart lock of your choice.
- Smart locks are not foolproof.
With all the hype attached to this new technology, it is easy to forget that smart locks do not guarantee zero burglaries. In fact, having this Internet-based security for your home has created another issue for homeowners to worry about: cybersecurity.
According to a security consultant, certain smart lock devices are vulnerable to technical issues. In fact, he was able to hack 12 out of 16 smart locks sent to him for testing. Even so, tech experts do not necessarily think locks are totally unsecure, explaining that it is only a matter of choosing the right brand or manufacturer to trust. On top of that, experts from a lock manufacturing company explained that usual burglars won’t go about hacking the technologically-advanced security hardware and would instead choose a simpler method, like kicking down the door or breaking a window, when attempting a burglary.
Even so, it is best to pair these smart locks with the traditional, sturdy deadbolts that can withstand the excessive use of force. It is also worth noting that smart locks work best when used with a complete security system that includes surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and house alarms.
With summer lurking right around the corner, people are starting to plan for a vacation to get away from the usual hustle and bustle of school and work.
Summer vacations are the absolute best. However, it will be a whole lot better if your mind is at ease after you’ve made all the necessary preparations to keep your home safe, secure, and ready for anything that may happen while you’re away.
Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for your time away during the summer:
- Make sure your house is clean and clear, both inside and out. With all the excitement that comes with planning a summer vacation, it is common to forget removing the filth that has accumulated throughout the years from their houses. Because of this, experts say it is important to allow time for power washing your home’s wall surfaces, clearing the gutters, and cleaning the windows during the pre-summer vacation planning, so that they would last longer.
- Ensure the doors and locks are properly functioning and closed when you leave. It is always best to double check all locks and doors before leaving your home for the summer. All possible points of entry should be assessed for any damages to avoid any mishaps while you’re away. Checking whether the garage door is functioning well should also be on top of your To-Do list before you head out— even if it’s only for a short period of time— to prevent any form burglary from happening.
- Never leave your windows open even when you are home. Some people tend to leave their windows ajar at night to let the cool air in and dispel the summer heat. However, experts advise against it. After all, there are better ways to cool down without tempting thieves into making your home their next target.
- Have an alarm system installed. Installing an alarm system should be a requisite for any homeowner. It will serve both as an alert to neighbors in case of a burglary and as a way of scaring off the thieves from breaking and entering into your house. It would also be best to put up a sign on your yard, door or window, stating that such security system is installed in the house to discourage potential intruders from even thinking about targeting your home.
- Make sure someone mows the lawn even when you’re away. An overgrown lawn is an obvious sign that no one is home. This might cause burglaries and other unwanted incidents to occur. Having the lawn trimmed at least once every two weeks is advisable for people who plan to go on an out-of-the-city vacation for an extended time. Also, ensure that the person you hire to do this task is trustworthy, so you can also have him or her walk through your house to check if everything is in order whenever he or she visits.
- Be cautious about what you post on the Internet. Social media is a powerful tool that can bring about positive results as well as unfortunate incidents. Sharing about your travels for the summer is not a bad idea as long as you remember not to do it publicly. This is because posting your whereabouts for anyone to see might let the wrong people know that your house is empty. To avoid any unwanted attention, apply necessary precautions by selecting the appropriate options on your social media accounts’ security and privacy settings.
- Set the timers on your appliances and lights or have someone you trust to turn them on while you’re away. A dark house in the middle of the night is an indicator that nobody is home. Although people are not closely monitoring your abode, they are bound to notice if the lights are always off for a long period of time. Security experts say it is best to set timers for your lights and appliances— like your radio or television— to switch on at night time. If your home electronics do not have such functions, you can ask your trusted neighbor to switch them on and off while you’re away.
- Put your regular subscriptions and mail on temporary hold. Mail and newspapers piling up on the lawn is another indicator that nobody is home. This is why experts advise those who are planning to go on a lengthy summer trip to put those subscriptions on hold. Some subscriptions offer special services where the customer may opt for their mail to be temporarily sent to their vacation house. In the event that you failed to do this before going out, you can always contact your neighbor or a person you trust to take the mail from your lawn to keep them from piling up.
- Invest in pest control and remove shrubs and trees that might block windows and doors. Remove all plants and trees that might provide potential hiding places for thieves so you don’t encourage them to target your house. Also, make sure to use pest control in your home. Most people might think that thieves are the only ones they need to protect their house from, but, believe it or not, pests pose an equal threat to people’s properties. Make sure to invest in pest control to avoid termites and carpenter ants from getting to your things.
- Entrust your home to someone you know well. While electronic devices such as alarm systems might effectively deter burglars from taking your belongings, having another person watch over your abode is still the best option to keep it safe and secure while you’re out on vacation. It can be your neighbor or a distant relative, as long as this individual can be left in charge of securing the home and maintaining the cleanliness of the building while you’re away.
Those living in subdivisions or gated communities can also alert the security staff and local police, especially if your vacation lasts longer than a week. This way, law enforcers can drive by your house more often while they are on patrol to make sure that everything is the way it should be.
The Internet has made it much easier for people to communicate with each other. Even if you are located at opposite sides of the world, you can exchange information, send files, and even money in mere seconds. This level of speed and convenience has truly changed the way we live. However, it has also opened up our lives to an entirely different set of risks and dangers.
Crime and criminal intentions have not changed; they only become more sophisticated, along with the advancement of technology. As new methods of protection are developed, criminals also upgrade their “skills” and look for unique ways to get their hands on your private information. The methods of attack and the tools they use vary. They can be in the form of malicious software and other types of exposure discreetly installed into your computer or those ingenious phishing scams that come from strange parts of the world (where justice can’t easily reach).
When Are You Exposed?
The most popular routes that will make you vulnerable to online security threats include shopping online, accessing social media networks, and checking email. Generally, as long you as you keep using the Internet and clicking those strange links, you place yourself at a position of vulnerability. While we cannot stop the threats from coming entirely, there are ways to protect and make ourselves less likely to become victims. First is by knowing the most popular schemes criminals use to bait people into giving their private data online. Here are 10 of them.
- Nigerian Scam
This is one of the most popular and arguably oldest scams online. You get an email, private message, or mail sent by a prince or a representative of an ultra-wealthy family from Nigeria (or other parts of Africa). In the letter, he or she will ask for your help in retrieving a large amount of money from a foreign bank. It will say that you only need to pay for the initial legal and processing fees; in exchange, he or she will give you a huge commission.
Because the amount reaches hundreds of millions, people are naturally curious and attracted. You will then be lured into sending more money for additional fees, services, and whatnot. You will even receive actual papers to supposedly prove that payments or transfers have been made. In the end, you’ve released a chunk of your money and do not get anything in return. The “family” is nowhere to be found and no messages will be acknowledged.
- Phishing Email Scam
This is usually done via email or a DM on social networks. You get a message that will trick you into providing your passwords, bank account details, social security number, and more. This message will seem like it came from an official source, like your bank, and will ask you to “update” your information. If not, they will give you an “urgent” situation and tell you your account is under threat or their site has been compromised and you need to change your details immediately.
However, close inspection will show you a slight difference in the URL (like a missing letter or an added character) or the absence of the “https://” (which indicates that it is encrypted). These little changes are easy to overlook, especially if you’re not Internet savvy. Before you know it, criminals have access to your financial details and you are left with zero in the bank or a whopping credit card bill.
- Guaranteed Bank Loan or Pre-approved Credit Card Scam
When you’re in a financial rut, it’s very easy to fall prey to offers of a loan or a pre-approved credit card line. If you suddenly receive a message that guarantees you a huge amount of money from the bank, don’t jump up and down just yet. Common sense will help you judge if it’s the real deal or not. Better yet, give your bank a call (don’t send an email to an address that the message gave you) and verify. While it looks pretty obvious that this is a scam, some people are not aware and could find themselves paying for “processing fees” for a loan that does not exist.
- Lottery Scam
You will get an email or mail telling you that you’ve won a large sum of money. However, to claim your prize, you will need to pay for transfer fees, legal fees, and other related costs. Even if you didn’t buy any lottery tickets in the first place, some of these raffle scams will say that you have been randomly selected out of millions because you went to so-and-so website. Do not be a victim.
- Greeting Card Scam
We always see this in our spam emails. You get a e-greeting card supposedly from your friend and you just have to open it to view the personal message. The moment you click, malicious software enters your system discreetly. It can be in the form of those annoying pop-up ads that spring up at random times or ransomware, which hijacks your computer and promises to re-open access to you if you pay them a certain amount of money. Having a specialized security program installed in your computer can help ward off these dangerous malware. Better yet, make it a habit to never click anything without verifying first, even if it’s from a friend.
- Romance Scam
This happens on social networks, chat groups, and dating sites. The male scammers will usually be from Africa while the females will normally be from Europe (although they can really come from anywhere). Because we are so attracted by the other person online, we tend to set judgment aside and go with feeling. This is where the scam is anchored on.
It can take weeks to months for that person to gain your trust, until one day he or she will have an “emergency” and will need your help with money. Another scheme is that he or she is already rich and has been “kidnapped.” Because you’ve invested a lot of your time getting to know this person, you naturally think you already have a “connection” and send what’s needed. After the transfer is made, you won’t hear from him or her again. Worse, the scammer could do this to you repeatedly.
- Hitman Scam
The hitman extortion scam preys on your fear. You will get a message that says somebody is trying to get you killed and that you can negotiate payment with the hitman to keep yourself safe. To create the impression of a real threat, the message will go as far as collecting information about you from your social media network, blog, or anywhere else your information might be public.
- Fake Antivirus Scam
This scam stirs up your fear of being hacked online. You will often see a message of this sort “Your computer has been infected! Download this antivirus right now!” Plenty of popups in certain sites also claim to know that your PC has been compromised and ask you to click and download a certain software as protection. Don’t be lured into the scare tactics and always treat things like these as a hoax. For your protection, set your computer up with a good and reputable antivirus product — not those you see lurking around sites or sending spam to your emails.
Majority of these online scams are either playing upon your fear of a security breach or your need to be more financially secure. If you receive a message that offers you money in exchange for something (a small fee or your personal information), run the other way and click that X button immediately. You might also get a random email offering non-existent job openings in a variety of companies, where you will again be asked to key your personal details and financial data in to view the “full suite” of offers.
Thus, the general rule when judging scams online is: if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.