Vacation Safety Tips from News 13 and the BBB - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Vacation Safety Tips from News 13 and the BBB

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If you are still planning your summertime out of town trip take time to protect your property and identity.  That preparation can save you a lot of headaches.  A closer look in this week's News 13 Problem Solver report.

Vacation.  It can be one of the best times of the year.  But, how many people who are now enjoying their time away from home on the white sands or elsewhere realize that criminals may be taking advantage of their time away from home.

Something to think about.  Home burglaries usually peak during the summer months...that's according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The FBI says the number reaches 53% during the daytime hours.

So take a moment to check these safety tips from the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Florida.

  • Don't announce your travel plans. Burglars can use posts on twitter or facebook to determine when you'll be away.  More than one-third (35%) of Americans polled in ADT's Safety Data Index Survey said they believed their home is too ordinary and would not interest a burglar. However, a vacant home could be enough to attract unwanted attention, so be careful about broadcasting your travel plans.
  • Make your home a deterrent.  Put a temporary hold on your mail during your vacation. Also, keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed so burglars don't have a place to hide.
  • Protect your identity.  Leave your laptop computer, important documents and any other personal information locked away in a secret spot in your home while you travel. If you are traveling with a laptop or smartphone, update your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and don't access bank account or other personal information through unsecured wi-fi while in a hotel room or other public location.
  • Limit disclosing personal information. Keep all your receipts and bills in one, safe place. Also, try using the same credit card for all trip purchases so you can better keep track of spending and limit getting ripped off.  You can dispute charges with your credit card company if you later find there is an unauthorized charge.
  • Protect your smartphone. While traveling, make sure you have a password for access, and use an application with a GPS locator to find your phone if it is lost or stolen.

And another reminder, if you are on the lookout for a security company to protect your home, you can check out their review on the Better Business Bureau website.