Security Precautions You Should Take to Ensure a Safe Move
Don’t throw caution to the wind when you’re changing to a new abode. There are a number of steps should you take to avoid security potholes and scams that could be perpetrated on you.
When you’re moving to a new address, it’s logical to expect that your mind will be occupied with numerous details. So it’s easy to forget about certain precautions that can make a big impact on the security of your home and your family. There are many pitfalls that can appear while you least expect them, but if you add a handful of steps to your moving to-do list, you’ll be a good deal safer as you relocate to your new home.
Change Your Locks
When you arrive at your new home, one of the first security precautions you’ll want to take is changing the locks on your doors. Hire a qualified locksmith to do the job – that will help ensure that all locks are installed properly and are in line with insurance requisites.
It is ideal to replace locks with a patented or a restricted locking system because keys can’t be easily copied. You’ll have greater protection because anyone trying to get a copy made will have to provide proof of home ownership to do so.
You might also consider adding door chains, spy holes, top and bottom bolts and window locks. Each of these devices will make it more difficult for potential intruders to gain access to your home.
Other Areas to Secure
Not only should your doors and windows be secured, but your garage and any out buildings also need to be made safe. You might want to think about adding additional security devices to them, such as bolts, window grills, extra strong padlocks and new door locks.
If your new home has a burglar alarm already installed be sure to change the security code as soon as possible. There’s no telling how many people know the code, and thus have access to your new abode. Also, be sure to update it periodically for optimum safety.
Lighting the Exterior
Consider improving exterior lighting in your home by adding dusk-to-dawn illumination or sensor lights. The extra light will not only deter possible intruders, it will also make the grounds safer for visitors who arrive after dusk.
You local law enforcement agencies will no doubt encourage you to etch your social security number on the metal surfaces of valuables that are frequently the target of burglars. With that identification mark, police can easily find the true owner of stolen merchandise and return it to its rightful owner. It’s always a good idea to take photographs of valuable and rare items, such as antiques, jewelry and artworks. Picture can be extremely helpful to the police as they search for your property.
Wire Fraud Scams
Those buying a new home need to be vigilant against scam artists who will try to bilk you out of money when you’re about to settle on a home. You might get an email from a real estate company or the title company asking you to wire money to an account for settlement. The email tells you that there’s been a last-minute change in instructions of where to wire the money.
You wire the money as the instructions say, but a day later you get a call from the title company asking why you haven’t sent your settlement funds. You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you realize that you’ve sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to a scam artist.
Scammers follow information online about real estate transactions, and hack into email accounts of homebuyers. They then wait patiently for the optimal moment to strike. Unfortunately, if you wire money to the wrong account the bank will not reimburse you.
Tips to Protect Yourself
Here are some tips for homebuyers as well as seller that will help protect you from wire fraud scam artists:
Never send any sensitive financial information via e-mail, including banking information, routing numbers or PINs.
Before wiring any funds, you should contact the intended recipient via a verified telephone number and confirm that the wiring information is accurate. Do not rely on telephone numbers or Web site addresses provided within an unverified e-mail.
Clean out your e-mail account on a regular basis. Your e-mails may establish patterns in your business practice over time that hackers can use against you.
Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis.
Make sure to implement the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies on your server or computer.
Report any fraudulent activity to the FBI via its Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Also Don’t Forget …
Make sure that you file a change of address form with the post office to ensure that your mail is forwarded to your new address. It’s preferable to do this before you move so that you don’t lose any important mail and none of your bills go unpaid. There are probably a number of items that arrive in your mailbox almost daily that contain personal information or provide opportunities for scam artists to rip you off, such as credit card bills and credit card applications. Keeping the post office updated on your address change will help reduce the chances that your mail will fall into the wrong hands.
Don’t forget to update your address on your driver’s license, voter registration and credit cards, and be sure to notify your auto insurance company, too. Your new address may change your rates and the insurance company must update their records on the location where the car is garaged.
If you shop over the Internet you’ll want to update your address on the sites where you shop, and if you do any online auto-payments of bills it’s important to update the address there, as well.
Be sure to transfer your utilities, or select a new provider at your new home.
Be sure to contact providers of gas, water, electric and phone service, as well as Internet and cable TV suppliers. Update newspapers and magazines subscriptions. The post office will forward magazines and mail, but only for a limited time.
Let your bank know about the address change. Many people pay their bills electronically these days, but you might still want to get some new checks with your current address printed on them.
You may have to be away from your new home from time to time, so make sure that your premises has a lived in look. Make arrangements to have your mail held at the post office and have a friend of neighbor collect your newspapers so that they don’t pile up on the doorstep.
Have a Safe Moving Experience
Being prepared for security issues can go a long way toward keeping you and your family safer as you move to your new address. Securing doors and windows, ensuring that your burglar alarm is functioning well and has a new security code will help protect you from intruders. Good lighting and secure locks can prevent the majority of property crime. But just having the locks isn’t good enough – you must be sure to use them. No matter how secure your hardware is and how sophisticated your burglar alarm may be, neither of them can protect your home unless you keep your doors locked and your burglar alarm armed. In all, the small amount of vigilance required for safety is well worth it.