Trading in your cowboy hat for a tropical getaway?

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    BBB advises vacationers of tell-tale signs your home is an empty target for thieves 

    While thousands of tourists flock to Calgary to partake in Stampede festivities each summer, some locals may prefer to trade in their hat and boots for tropical drinks and swimsuits. BBB says securing your home and having a home security plan in place before you leave is crucial to keep burglars at bay.

    “Between booking flights and hotels and packing your belongings, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a vacation,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “But it’s important to think about not only what you’re taking with you but also what you’re leaving behind.”

    Keep burglars from ruining your fun in the sun with these BBB home security tips:

    • Don’t announce your vacation to everyone. Using social media to announce your travel plans tells strangers that you will be away from your home, which makes it an easy target for thieves.

    • Make it look like you’re home. Leave blinds and curtains in their usual position, arrange to have your yard maintained and consider using timed lights to make it appear as though someone is home.

    • Not using your cheque book, address book, etc.? Leave them at home. They become clutter and if lost during your travels, you become a target for identity theft. Secure personal information in a locked, fire-proof safe and do not share the password.

    • Stop your mail and newspapers while you’re gone. An overflowing mailbox can be a tempting target for someone who wants to steal your personal information. Piled up papers could tip off thieves that your home is unoccupied.

    • Leave your computer at home. If you must bring it with you, update anti-virus or anti-spyware programs before you leave home, and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access financial accounts. Never leave your computer unattended in a public place and make sure it is password protected.

    • Lock it up.¬†Of course this seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget things like windows and outside doors. Also turn off your garage door opener to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.

    • Park in the garage. If you’re not driving to your destination, keep your vehicle secure in the garage. Leaving it on the driveway or street for days on end may make it an easy target for thieves. Also take all of your valuables out of your vehicle and store them securely in your home.

     

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