Protect your Home While you are Away

Many people travel during summer or the holidays in order to see family or escape the crowds. They often leave a light on and have a neighbor pick up their mail but here are a few more tips and tricks to fooling people into thinking someone is home.

About 1 week before you leave:
• Request a “house watch” from your local sheriff’s office. They will drive by periodically to make sure nothing looks suspicious. The increased police presence will help deter criminals.
• Have your newspaper stopped so they don’t pile up. Many people ask neighbors to collect them but they often collect for a few days before your neighbors stop by to grab them.
• If it will be a long vacation arrange for someone to stop by and mow the lawn. This will help to avoid the “vacant” look.
• Move all jewelry and cash into a safe deposit box at the bank.
• Turn down the ringer volume on your phone or turn it off so it cannot be heard outside. This way people do not hear the phone ring without ever being answered.
• Place your lights on a timer. When your home is lit it deters people who are not supposed to be there from hanging around.
• Make sure all windows and door are locked.

Don’t Let your Dryer Cause your Home to Burn Down.

Cloths dryers cause one in every 22 home structure fires reported.  As reported by the National Fire Protection Association in 2010, 51 people were killed and 380 people were injured due to dryer related house fires. Do not allow improper inspections and maintenance of your dryer destroy your home.

Here are some Dryer Safety Tips:

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper airflow and drying time.
  • Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
  • Keep dryers in good working order. A professional should inspect gas dryers to make sure that the gas line and connections are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.

Click Here to download the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) safety tips on washers and dryers.

Cell Phone Forwarding Scam

The scam: A Caller will contact you and let you know that there has been a death in the family. The caller will give you another number to call for more information, they also let you know that you must begin the call with the call code *72. What this actually does is forward all calls made to your cell phone to the number the caller has given — the scammer’s own number.

The scammer then gives your number to his buddies anywhere in the world and they can phone him via your cell, with you picking up the charges — and knowing nothing about it — until you get your bill.

The solution: Don’t use the *72 or any other forwarding code to forward calls to a number you don’t know or recognize. You can enter *73 to clear call forwarding. (We’re not sure if *72 and *73 are the forwarding codes for all cell phones. Check your cell phone manual or talk to your carrier.)