Halloween is right around the corner and for kids this is an exciting time full of treats, ghoulish games, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns and spookiness! For parents, all the fun and excitement can come with many safety concerns for your loved ones whether it be while you or your kids are out and about or at your home. Be sure to talk to your kids about safety and prepare your home or business from the true goblins hiding behind all the ghostly fun!
Our security tip for June is to treat your portable electronics like cash. You wouldn’t leave cash sitting unattended on your car seat, dashboard, or on a table in a public place, so don’t leave your laptop, cell phone, GPS, etc. lying around for anyone to walk by and steal.
This is important not only considering their monetary value, but also for the fact that many of these devices have sensitive or important information stored in them. From phone numbers and other contact information in your cell phone to private documents and financial information (do any online banking?) in your laptop, thieves can get more out of your electronics than a few bucks at the pawn shop.
Protecting Your Electronics
What can you do if someone walks off with your cell phone or laptop? Symantec has a great article on laptop security – both physical security (preventing laptop theft) and data security (protecting information if the laptop is stolen/accessed).
As for cell phones, mp3 players, and other portable devices, common sense rules the day. Keep them on your person (in a pocket is best, but out of sight in a purse, briefcase, or bag is better than nothing) even if you are only leaving the vicinity for a minute. It only takes seconds for thieves to pick up and pocket a small electronic device, and most times these are crimes of opportunity that happen when someone is distracted for just a moment.
The main danger of cell phone theft isn’t so much the thief selling the phone, but using it to make calls and sticking you with the bill. Snopes.com has some good advice about what to do if your cell phone is stolen (#1: contact your provider to disable your account) and I have also found it to be a great website for investigating possible scams, rumors, etc. that always seem to find their way into your e-mail inbox.
Hopefully we’ve made you think a little more about your personal electronics and keeping them, and your personal information, safe. Check out last month’s tip, subscribe to our RSS feed, and stay safe this summer!
Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have been hard at work over the last month getting Custom Alarm’s Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) covered by Medical Assistance. I am excited to announce that all the hard work paid off and as of October 13, 2009, our PERS is now a waivered service covered by Medical Assistance.
At this point you are probably wondering, “What is a Personal Emergency Response System?” A PERS, also known as a medical alert system, is a device that enables a user to call for help in an emergency if they are unable to reach a phone to dial 911. Many PERS users are senior citizens, but these systems can be used by anyone who is at risk of a fall or other medical emergency. Click here to find more information on PERS and if it is right for you or a loved one.
You have probably seen commercials for a similar device on TV with a very well-known (and copyrighted) tagline, and if you have ever searched for “medical alert” or “personal emergency response” on the Internet you may have been overwhelmed by the number of companies offering this service. However, there are some points you should consider and questions you should ask when looking at a PERS provider. These include:
- Longevity – How long has the provider been in business? How long have they provided PERS?
- Location – Is the provider local, regional, or national? Who do you contact to have questions answered, to add or change services, or to have the system serviced if needed?
- Installation – Does the provider install and, most importantly, test the system, or do they just ship the equipment to you?
- Demonstration – Do they provide an in-home demonstration at no cost or obligation to you? Can you “try before you buy”?
- Contacts – Who is called in an emergency? Are there requirements or limits on the number of contacts you can provide?
- Options – Do they provide additional services or devices such as wellness calls, medication reminders, and activity sensors? Can you add or remove services at any time?
- Contracts – Are you locked into a long-term contract, or can you cancel at any time?
- Maintenance – Does the monthly fee include needed maintenance for your system, or is there an additional fee?
At Custom Alarm we take pride in offering a personal touch for all of our customers. That means free in-home consultations with no strings attached, a local office where you can come in and speak to us in person, and telephones staffed 24-hours-a-day so you can speak to a real person day or night.
It’s good to be back on the blog, and I hope you’ll come back or subscribe to our RSS feed because there’s a whole lot more on tap for the days, weeks, and months ahead.