When Your Name Is In the News

     When a family member, relative, or neighbor passes away, arrange to have someone guard their house during the funeral. Some thieves read obituaries carefully, though you won't see them at the church.

     The same goes for wedding announcements, awards ceremonies, and any other publicity that includes your address and the time of an event that will leave your home vulnerable.

     Scam artists often read obituaries, too. Then they show up at the bereaved's door a few days later with an expensive bible, jewelry, or some other item that they claim the deceased person made a down payment on. these swindlers are often very skilled at manipulating victims and taking advantage of a very emotional situation.

When You Sell Your Home

     Opening your home to prospective buyers also opens it up to prospecting thieves and even attackers. Here are safety precautions you and your real estate agent should follow.

  • Check all doors and windows after showing your home. A would-be intruder could unlock one and return later.
  • Require that every interested buyer have an agent with him or her. Never let in someone who stops by unannounced. Instead, refer them to your agent.
  • Ask agents to leave business cards when they show your home.
  • Never leave valuables-such as money, jewelry, or credit cards- lying around when the house is open.
  • If you're selling your own home, ask for identification from potential homebuyers or take a picture of each visitor.
  • Always have another adult there when you show your home.

Vacation Checklist

    You've planned an itinerary, made reservations, and now you['re about to take off on that much-anticipated vacation. But before you can start packaging, take these steps to secure your home and belongings while you're away.

  • Stop mail, newspapers, and other deliveries. Or, ask a neighbor to bring them inside every day. A pile of stuff on y our front porch tells a passerby that, although lights may be on, nobody's home.
  • Arrange to have yard work done. Un-moved grass, un-shoveled snow, and un-raked leaves also give away a home's unoccupied status.
  • Have a neighbor set out trash on normal collection days. And have empty cans and recycle bins removed the same day.
  • Tell a neighbor or whomever is watching the house where you can be reached if there's an emergency. Offer to reciprocate when they're gone.
  • If you have an alarm system, make sure that its in working order. If it's connected to monitoring service, tell them when you'll be gone and where you're going, along with a phone number of the person keeping eye on things.
  • Check timers.Set and use them for a day or two before leaving to be sure they turn lights and a radio or TV on and off at appropriate times.
  • If you leave a car at home, park it in the driveway, not in the garage, and arrange to have it moved from time to time, or have a neighbor park in your drive.
  • the best choice is to hire a house-sitter you can trust. The sitter can perform the jobs listed above for the neighbors and tend to plants and pets.