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 As charitable giving ramps up over the holidays, so do scams. Protect yourself this holiday with these tips

Watch Out for These 10 Holiday Scams

As charitable giving ramps up over the holidays, so do scams. Protect yourself this holiday with these tips:

  1. Read before you click: phishing scams are increasingly “smart” and even look like a shipment tracking email.  
    • Before you click, the safer route is to go to the trusted shipping site and plug your tracking number in directly.
  2. Watch out for fake charities. 
    • Make sure the charity you’re giving to is legitimate – do a quick search to make sure other’s online experiences have been good ones with the charity you’re considering.
  3. Watch your statements closely. 
    • There are many ways criminals can steal your identity and credit/debit card numbers. Check your statements closely to ensure all purchases are legitimate.
  4. With a quick bump or, more often these days, a distraction from an accomplice, criminals can remove your wallet from your pocket or purse in seconds and even take items from bags. 
    • Keep your wallet inside a closed purse or in a pocket with your hand on it. Leave non-essential identifying information and spare credit cards at home. Return frequently to your car to drop off purchases in the trunk and out of sight.
  5. At the register, be aware of your receipt and change.
    • Be on the lookout for any unauthorized cash back from your debit card and make sure you received the correct change.
  6. You see a parcel waiting notice on your door with a phone number to call; with so many deliveries this time of year you aren’t sure which parcel it might be.
    • Make sure this an 800 or a local call or else it might be a scam where you are charged exorbitant phone charges or you may be asked personal questions that lead to identity theft. Also be wary of parcel thieves, and look out for your neighbors as well.
  7. Twice-used gift cards. Make sure gift cards you purchase are from reputable retailers and that the activation code is still secure. 
    • Some scammers will take activation codes from cards at the store and use them after they are loaded.
  8. If you’re looking to book a vacation home for the holidays, be wary. Here are a number of red flags to look for in vacation home rental scams.
    • First, as always, if the price is too good to be true, it usually is just that – not true. Never send your payment by a wire transfer or a cashier’s check. Use a credit card, so you can retrieve your funds if the transaction is fraudulent.
  9. You’ve won! These fake contest scams are increasingly common. 
    • It is impossible to win a contest you haven’t even entered. It is important to remember that no legitimate lottery charges you fees to claim your prize, nor ask for any personal information from you.
  10. The grandparent scam is another one done throughout the year; however, it is more prevalent during the holidays when college-age grandchildren may be traveling. The scam starts with a phone call apparently from a grandchild who has encountered a medical or legal emergency and needs money immediately. Often the scammers get personal information to make the call sound legitimate through the child’s Facebook page or other social media.
    • A good way to be proactive is to have a secret word a child should use in an emergency situation. If the caller doesn’t know it, it is probably a scam.

Information is power when it comes to scams. Use caution and trust your gut – when something feels not right or out of the ordinary, stop and take a step back. 

Read the more scam details and tips from The Today Show and Scambusters.

About Alarm Engineering

Locally owned Alarm Engineering has been securing Delmarva since 1985. In that time, we have earned our reputation for integrity, reliability, and quality with our emphasis on superior service to our customers. We know you have choices when it comes to your security system, so here are some things you should know about our team.

Alarm Engineering is leading provider of electronic security systems and services in Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. From integrated home security systems with home automation and video to large enterprise-level integrated systems and small business solutions, our highly trained and professional staff will get the job done right. As an Authorized Alarm.com dealer, we offer exclusive Crash and Smash technology, Geo-Fencing and LiftMaster Garage Control, and the Doorbell Camera as part of our Home Automation offerings.

For more about what sets us apart from the crowd, click here or give us a call at 410-546-2210. But don’t just take our word for it: check out our five star Google Reviews.

New technology makes it possible for predators to read the thermal evidence your body heat leaves behind when you type your PIN number at some ATM machines, car keypads, at the store or even your garage door.

Keep Your PIN Safe

Did you know it’s possible for predators to read the thermal evidence your body heat leaves behind when you type your PIN number at some ATM machines, car keypads, at the store or even your garage door? Heat transferred to the keypad dissipates with time so it’s also easy to guess what order the numbers were punched in.

With a new iPhone case that doubles as a thermal detector, criminals just have to hover their phone near the keypad to see the evidence.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to limit your vulnerability:

  • Use your smartphone to open and close your garage door. That’s right, our exclusive security features allow you to control your garage door, locks, lights and much more right from your smartphone.
  • Use touchless payment or use “Credit” instead of “Debit” wherever possible in retail establishments. If you must type in your PIN, rest part of your fingers on some of the other keys to confuse a would-be criminal. Using this tactic, the picture above would look like this:

If you must type in your PIN, rest part of your fingers on some of the other keys to confuse a would-be criminal.

  • Look for ATM machines with metal keypads. Metal reflects heat and cannot be used in this way to steal your PIN number.

Share this information and thwart these would-be criminals!

Get more tips here.

About Alarm Engineering

Locally owned Alarm Engineering has been securing Delmarva since 1985. In that time, we have earned our reputation for integrity, reliability, and quality with our emphasis on superior service to our customers. We know you have choices when it comes to your security system, so here are some things you should know about our team.

Alarm Engineering is leading provider of electronic security systems and services in Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. From integrated home security systems with home automation and video to large enterprise-level integrated systems and small business solutions, our highly trained and professional staff will get the job done right. As an Authorized Alarm.com dealer, we offer exclusive Crash and Smash technology, Geo-Fencing and LiftMaster Garage Control, and the Doorbell Camera as part of our Home Automation offerings.

For more about what sets us apart from the crowd, click here or give us a call at 410-546-2210. But don’t just take our word for it: check out our five star Google Reviews.

Whenever you’re away from your home for more than a day or two: Be careful what you post on social media about your vacation. Don’t advertise that you’re away!

Vacation Safety & Security Tips

Keep vacation time stress-free with these safety and security tips.

For Home

  • Be careful what you post on social media about your vacation. Don’t advertise that you’re away!
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded or held by the post office.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed in summer and your walk and driveway shoveled in winter.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries and ask a friend to pick-up “throw-away” circulars.
  • Let us know if there are temporary changes to your call list while you’re away at 410-546-2210 or complete our online form.
  • Set up security system interactive light schedules to automatically turn lights on and off so it looks like someone is home.
  • Tell dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and when you plan to return.
  • Make sure trusted neighbors or family members are aware of your security system passcode and create custom user codes for them to disarm your system. Don’t worry, you can always delete or change your user codes. (Don’t have these features yet? Check out our Customer Loyalty Rewards program)
  • Join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what’s happening in your community. Being a good neighbor and working closely with them is a good way to prevent crime.

For You and Your Family

  • At the airport, keep a close eye on your luggage at all times. When going through security, put your laptop on the X-Ray conveyor belt last, so you have time to get through the metal detector and be waiting for it on the other side.
  • Lost or stolen wallets often lead to identity theft. Carry only the cards and cash you plan on using during your trip.
  • Do not carry your passport with you when out and about. Make a few photocopies and leave your original in the hotel safe. Leave a copy of your passport with a trusted friend at home, just in case. 
  • Travel like a local. Avoid obvious actions that will make you stand out as a tourist. Dress in a similar style and know your surroundings. Plan your route in advance, so you have an idea where you are going and you don’t need to look at a map while walking through a busy area. 
  • Check out more travel safety tips from Travelers Insurance

Have a safe vacation! If you’ve made temporary changes to your call list, make sure you tell us when you’re back home.

About Alarm Engineering

Locally owned Alarm Engineering has been securing Delmarva since 1985. In that time, we have earned our reputation for integrity, reliability, and quality with our emphasis on superior service to our customers. We know you have choices when it comes to your security system, so here are some things you should know about our team.

Alarm Engineering is leading provider of electronic security systems and services in Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. From integrated home security systems with home automation and video to large enterprise-level integrated systems and small business solutions, our highly trained and professional staff will get the job done right. As an Authorized Alarm.com dealer, we offer exclusive Crash and Smash technology, Geo-Fencing and LiftMaster Garage Control, and the Doorbell Camera as part of our Home Automation offerings.

For more about what sets us apart from the crowd, click here or give us a call at 410-546-2210. But don’t just take our word for it: check out our five star Google Reviews.

 Professional installation, 24/7 monitoring and the deterrence factor of yard signs/decals significantly reduce your likelihood of a break in, according to a Rutgers study. Here are 10 other things you can do now to continue to dissuade a burglar from choosing your home

10 Quick Tips to Keep Your Home Secure

A burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15.4 seconds.

A big first step of securing your home and/or business with a monitored Alarm Engineering security system. Professional installation, 24/7 monitoring and the deterrence factor of yard signs/decals significantly reduce your likelihood of a break in, according to a recent Rutgers study.

Here are 10 other things you can do now to continue to dissuade a burglar from choosing your home:

  1. More lighting. Burglars love dark corners and crevices. Increasing lighting around your property may convince a burglar to move on. Automatic light schedules in your home can also make your home looked lived in when you’re away.
  2. Take away hiding spots. Most burglaries happen in the late afternoon so high shrubbery or bushes in front of windows are a perfect entry point for would-be burglars. Keep your landscaping nicely manicured to decrease the likelihood a burglar can stay concealed while trying to break in. 
  3. Be a good neighbor. Keep on the lookout for your neighbor’s property and unusual behavior and ask your neighbors to do the same. Also create a neighborhood system where mail and newspapers are periodically collected so it’s not obvious that someone is away.
  4. Reign in social medial posts about your location. Whether you’re posting updates about your cousin’s out of town wedding or date night, keep in mind burglars are now casing social media for easy targets who they know aren’t home.
  5. Use high-quality doors and locks to decrease your vulnerability. 
  6. Cut out the spare keys. Burglars will be looking for the spare key under your mat. New lock technology can also allow you to lock or unlock your home remotely to let a visitor or worker in so you don’t need that spare key in the first place.
  7. Lock your windows! It sounds deceptively simple, but locking is a crucial step many people overlook.
  8. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable. In addition to having them contacted and monitored, take extra precaution by inserting a simple wooden dowel into the track, preventing or limiting movement.
  9. Invest in a safe. Keep your valuables in a locked safe and change the combination regularly. You can also receive SMS alerts on your phone when anyone enters a specific safe room or opens a certain cabinet.
  10. Don’t tempt a burglar. Keep empty electronics packaging off your curb and keep any tools or ladders out of plain sight. They can become easy targets, or worse, used as tools to break into your home. If you have an onsite NVR for video, consider a cloud solution instead.

Get Started Now

If you aren’t already protected by Alarm Engineering or if you might want to upgrade your current Alarm Engineering system, tell us a bit about you and we’ll provide your no-hassle customized quote.

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About Alarm Engineering

Locally owned Alarm Engineering has been securing Delmarva since 1985. In that time, we have earned our reputation for integrity, reliability, and quality with our emphasis on superior service to our customers. We know you have choices when it comes to your security system, so here are some things you should know about our team.

Alarm Engineering is leading provider of electronic security systems and services in Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. From integrated home security systems with home automation and video to large enterprise-level integrated systems and small business solutions, our highly trained and professional staff will get the job done right. As an Authorized Alarm.com dealer, we offer exclusive Crash and Smash technology, Geo-Fencing and LiftMaster Garage Control, and the Doorbell Camera as part of our Home Automation offerings.

For more about what sets us apart from the crowd, click here or give us a call at 410-546-2210. But don’t just take our word for it: check out our five star Google Reviews.

 


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