We're on the cusp of summer vacation. Do you want to let criminals know you're not home?
I've talked in the past about so many ways we let our guard down and make ourselves susceptible to criminals, especially in the summer. Fortunately, there are some basic precautions you can take to safeguard yourself.
Here's how to make sure your home stays safe when you're away on vacation
1. Do not post post updates on Facebook and Twitter while you're away. Only post pictures from your vacation when you're back at home. You don't want to alert "friends" who may be anything but that you're out of town. When I first had access to wifi on a plane, I made the mistake of Tweeting from the air. My executive producer Christa thankfully sent me an e-mail and told me to stop Tweeting!
2. Get automatic timers. These will pop your lights on and off at the appropriate times of day, deterring criminals and saving electricity at the same time.
3. Suspend delivery of mail and newspapers. You can also either have a friend or relative collect your mail while you're away, or you can put in a temporary stop at your local post office.
4. Make sure the doors to your home and car are locked. People let their guard down in this respect too often in the summer. You don't want a crook to just help him or herself to your property.
Insurers now using social media posts as a way to deny your claims
Hot on the heels of people making careless vacation posts, insurers are now using that as an excuse to strike back at you! This trend so far has not hit our shores, but it is happening in other countries...so it's probably coming our way soon!
I read in London's Daily Express newspaper that insurers are now denying claims for break-ins when they determine people have posted about vacation while they're still on vacation. The insurers are invoking what's called the due care or reasonable care clause as a justification. So they're using your reckless or careless behavior to say they were the victim, not you, and so they're not paying!
One final word of advice: Make sure your kids know not to post while they are on a trip. In March, we went on family trip to Maui. My teenage daughter spit out all the places her friends were posting from on Instagram. Wow, they take some expensive vacations at my daughter's school! The problem is when the kids start posting on social media, it's like sending an invitation to the Association of Household Burglars. (Thank goodness there is no such thing!)