Tuesday, October 15

Thwarting Thieves

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Steps to take before hitting the road on vacation

Setting off on any exciting road trip can be an adventure, and you’re hoping to have a vacation to talk about for years to come. While not all road trips go off without a hitch, being mindful of thieves with bad intentions can protect you, your family and your belongings and can help make the trip a winner.

Vehicle theft

“Wherever your car is parked, whether at a hotel, in a gas station parking lot or even at your own home, you need to take precautions,” advises Troy Sandberg, owner of Signal 88 Security in Denver.

Signal 88 offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of vehicle theft:

  1. Identify possible threats.
    “There are a variety of items that are attractive to thieves: electronics, gas, metal and even the car itself,” says Sandberg. “Take a look at your car and note if any of the above is easily accessible.”
  2. Secure your vehicle.
    Park in well-lit areas, and keep your windows rolled up and doors locked at all times when away from your vehicle. If you have an alarm system, use it, even if you’re only planning on leaving the vehicle unattended for a short time.
  3. Keep a watchful eye.
    If you plan on leaving town without your vehicle, inform your neighbors or property management and ask them to report suspicious activity around your home and vehicle. In addition, keep your belongings out of sight, and never leave your keys in your vehicle.

Home theft

It’s unnerving knowing your home is vulnerable while you’re away. Don’t alert potential thieves of your absence when traveling. Farmers Insurance suggests these precautions:

  • Suspend delivery or make sure mail and newspapers are picked up.
  • Don’t advertise your absence on your voicemail, email or Facebook page.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed and snow shoveled.
  • If possible, install a motion detector on outside lights.

Identity theft

Becoming a victim of identity theft while on vacation can be traumatic, to say the least. Kiplinger has these suggestions to safeguard your identity when traveling:

  • If you receive an alert about suspicious activity on your cell phone, don’t call the number provided or reply by text. Instead, call the number on the back of your credit card.
  • Rid your wallet of unneeded credit cards or other personal information. Only keep items you will need on vacation.
  • Be careful using your laptop, the hotel computer and ATM machines, as they can be rigged with devices that read your personal information.

Line up your defenses

Vacations are a time to relax, relish and revive. Becoming a victim of theft will thwart those plans. Don’t be an easy mark. Safeguard your vehicle, identity and home, and enjoy the many things you set out to do this summer.

Amy Higgins is a Centennial, Colo., writer for Colorado Country Life magazine.

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About Author

Trish Milburn

Trish Milburn wrote her first book in the sixth grade and has the cardboard-and-fabric-bound, handwritten, and colored-pencil-illustrated copy to prove it. That “book” was called Land of the Misty Gems, and not surprisingly it was a romance. She’s always loved stories with happy endings, whether those stories come in the form of books, movies, TV programs or marriage to her own hero. Trish grew up in Kentucky and worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist for a number of years. She still does freelance work, but she devotes most of her time to writing novels. While working toward her first sale, she finaled in the prestigious Golden Heart contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America eight times, winning twice. She was also a finalist in Harlequin American’s Great American Novel contest, which led to her first sale to American. Other than reading, Trish enjoys traveling (by car or train – she’s a terra firma girl!), hiking, nature photography, and visiting national parks. Two of her life goals are to visit every unit of the U.S. National Park Service and hike the Appalachian Trail. While many authors buy themselves a piece of jewelry or gorgeous new shoes to commemorate their first sales, Trish bought herself a TiVo so she doesn’t miss any of her favorite shows while she’s typing away at the computer keyboard to meet her deadlines. In addition to romances for Harlequin American, Trish writes young adult novels under the name Tricia Mills for Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.

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