Backgrounds Plus – Tips

When not to use a Debit Card:

  1. At a gas station pump. You stick your debit card in there, and as you swipe it through a machine a scammer can set up surveillance via laptop and camera and your debit account has been compromised.
  2. Another place where consumers should not use their debit cards is for online shopping. Consumer could have malware on their computer, so it could be at their endpoint that the data get compromised.
  3. Any place where the card is “out of hand” such as restaurants can increase the chances of fraud,
  4. Any transaction you do outdoors at an open ATM is going to be higher risk exposure. Someone has the ability to add skimming devices to it, position cameras on it and position themselves in a way where they could surveil it.

Personal safety tips. Always be aware of your surroundings when driving or walking. Remain in populated areas when possible. Keep your head up and be mindful of traffic around you. If you are walking be sure to double check before going into the road. Don’t be distracted by cell phone , iPods radios or other devices . If you think someone is following you switch direction and head for the nearest open store, restaurant or gas station.

Take a minute to think about personal safety and remember: The elbow is the strongest point on your body, if you are close enough use it. If a thief asks for your wallet/purse don’t give it to him throw it away from you. Women get into cars and sit to arrange lists, count money, check email, etc while someone can get into the passenger door and put a gun at them. Lock yourself into your car at all times. Look into your vehicle before getting in; check the passenger side floor as well as the rear.

When inside buildings always take an elevator when possible. People hide out in stairwells. It is a prefect place for night-time crimes to occur. Don’t stop to render help if you are a person traveling alone. Criminals love to play on the sympathy of the unsuspecting. Broken down vehicles, people walking, dog whining, baby crying in a stroller unattended, etc. are great set-ups for rapists, muggers and murders.

How safe is your e-mail. Don’t be taken in by communication from any bank or financial institution to update your files. They never operate that way. Be aware the hackers are good at what they do; they copy unique logo’s and write convincing statements but if you go to the actual company site and make inquiry 99.9% of the time it’s a hacker. Even if you play the lottery you will never be contacted via the internet to claim the prize. Foreign travel at $99 is not possible, there is always a catch, they want more money for your trip or they want your personal information.

Good old telephone scams and telemarketing has never been so prolific. For older people especially they are playing on vulnerability and do so by many “must have” upgrades to services (TV-magazines and newspapers- insurance- new roofs, etc). Everyone needs to make their older friends and family members understand that they must never say yes to telephone offers. If it is legitimate have the caller leave call back information that someone else can verify. Sympathy is another big draw with the need for a credit card number to get a grand child out of jail or could you wire money to a good friend who had their pocketbook stolen while on vacation.

Disaster preparedness 1. What can you do to be ready for the call or knock that tells you to leave your residence or office immediately. Do you have a way to communicate with family and friends to let them know you are safe or need help? At home do you have copies of all important papers and documents stored in a safe place off site? Have you scanned your photo and saved them to flash drives you can easily keep or have in two places? What do you absolutely need to have when you leave? Medications, ID, money, checks, etc. Do you keep them in one place ready to grab and run? Plan ahead.

Disaster preparedness #2When natural disasters occur; tornadoes, floods, fires and you are forced to stay where you are due to road closings, unsafe conditions outside the buildings you need to think ahead on what you will need. Food and water to support all who are regularly at this location for a minimum of 3 days. Canned and packaged foods are not always concerns. How will you heat these? Alternate sources of heat for warmth are needed as well as flashlights, emergency radios extra batteries. Do you have an ac/dc adapter you can plug into your vehicle and use it on an extension cord to power small equipment for short periods of time?

If you carry valuables on your person make sure they are secured under your clothing.Purse snatchers can easily cut straps from bags or packs and make off with you worldly goods. If you feel someone grab onto you or tug at your bag Scream- yell and call attention to your attacker. Remember keys pushed toward the eyes is a great way to get away if you have them in hand.

Do you employee people to come into your home to take care of the house, pets and loved ones?Have you done a background check to make sure your valuables and property is safe when you are not there? We provide tenant, nanny and casual worker screening.

With darkness coming earlier it is more important than ever to be seen while riding or walking at dawn and twilight.Be sure you have reflective stripes on your clothing. Ankle and wrist bands are available at most stores. Remember the old “wear light colors at night” suggestion. Be extra cautious as you cross the street, even near street lights; look both ways; there are many more distracted drivers on the road today.

If you have to leave you vehicle outside overnight, keep a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol in the car.Spray the windshield and then activate the wipers, it will help cut through the ice crystals on the windshield and reduce the need to scrape.

Have you had your home heating system and fireplace checked?Not only will you have peace of mind that the equipment is working properly but new filters, clean chimneys can save you money by increasing efficiency.

Going on a vacation? Leaving for the winter?Make sure the sidewalk and driveway is plowed (for northern readers) lights outside are on timers. Timer lights inside need to be moved around to different rooms and the clocks reset frequently. Leaving a radio on is a good idea. Do not advertise you are gone, have mail and newspapers either held, cancelled or picked up by neighbors daily. Invite a neighbor to use your driveway to park their extra vehicles.

If you are doing Christmas shopping be sure to put the purchases out of sight (trunk, covered rear space or floor of the car. Park the car in a well lit area. Lock the door using the lock on the door, not the remote as you walk away, that is a signal to thieves waiting in the mall or garage to pop your locks and take what they want. DO NOT ever leave phones, pocketbooks or other valuables in sight on the dash, coffee well or seats.

Traveling?Be sure you know where the exits are as you get settled into your hotel room. Do not open the door without checking pinhole monitor on the door and keep the safety chain engaged. Be sure to engage the safety chain. Do not open windows or balcony doors. Make sure there is a safety bar on the door.

When you are at the gas pumps do not leave the car running.Do not leave your keys in the ignition. Keep the windows up (many items have been grabbed by people walking by or across islands while your back is to them). If you must leave the car to go into the store take the time to lock the door.