With the holiday travel season upon us, it is important to avoid advertising you are away on vacation. Some simple steps can help to ensure your home will be the way you left when you arrive back from your travels:
- Inform a good friend and trusted neighbor of your travel plans and ask them to watch your home while you are away. Have this neighbor also collect your mail and newspapers to reduce the exterior signs you are away.
- Be cautious with a “vacation away message” on your home answering machine or voicemail. Incoming wrong numbers and advertising phone calls will readily allow strangers to hear you are away from home. With current online tools it is now easy to back trace a telephone number and gain the originating address.
- Be careful with your social media posts. Posts similar to “preparing to head out of town”, “on the road”, “will be gone for ten days” and “finally arrived in New York” can actually tip off malicious social media surfers to the fact your home is unoccupied. Also, “check-ins” and location tags posted to your social media provider can also indicate you are away. Neither Facebook nor Twitter is completely secure from malicious online surfing even with the most stringent privacy settings active.
- Contact your home alarm monitoring company and alert them of your travel plans. If an activation is detected some monitors will automatically call the police instead of attempting to contact you first, saving valuable time.
- Install timers on lighting inside your home set to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. This will provide a sense that your home is occupied.
- Close your home’s first floor blinds or curtains. This simple step will take away the opportunity for someone to “window shop” at your home. Leave the second floor open though to provide the appearance of your home being occupied.
- Ensure all your windows and doors, including your main garage doors, are locked and secure.
- Gather your “hidden” keys outside. You never want to leave keys outside as most burglars know the tell-tell signs of where those keys are hidden.