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5 Holiday Season Home Security Tips

The holidays are meant to be a time of joy and giving, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to provide burglars with open and unfettered access to your home and everything in it. Unfortunately, the holiday season tends to be the time of year when burglaries spike, thanks to families that travel, leaving their homes unattended, not to mention the glut of gifts sitting under the tree, offering easy access for anyone who can get in a window or door. And believe it or not, you might be making the burglar’s job a lot easier by your actions (or inaction). This is definitely an instance where ignorance is not bliss, so here are just a few home security tips for the holidays that could help to ensure that this season of giving doesn’t end with you giving a lot more than you bargained for.

  1. Don’t post your travel plans on Facebook. While the digital era has certainly provided us with unimagined possibilities to connect to people across the globe, the relative infancy of the medium has opened a door for criminal activity, and people are only just starting to learn that the internet is a lot less anonymous than they might think. Even if you’re careful to use privacy settings and stay mum about your personal data when using your social networking accounts, you might be surprised by what a clever follower can pick up. It doesn’t take much for someone to figure out where you live by pics you’ve posted and comments you’ve made. And when you advertise that you’re going to travel for the holidays or you post photos during your trip, you might as well leave your front door wide open.

  2. Hire a house sitter. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, there are steps you can take to make your house look lived-in. You can cancel your paper for a couple of weeks, have the Post Office hold your mail, and set your lights on a timer, just for example. But for your own peace of mind, it might not be a bad idea to ask a friend to house sit, or at least pop in to check on things periodically. You could also hire someone to do this, and there are many reputable organizations that provide such services.

  3. Lock doors and windows. This might sound pretty obvious, but there are actually a lot of people that run extension cords through a window for their outdoor lights or leave the door unlocked when they’re home. Generally speaking, burglars probably prefer to pop in when you’re not home, but a lot of people get desperate around the holidays, so it’s a pretty dangerous gamble. It’s much better to keep your doors and windows locked at all times.

  4. Hide gifts and gift boxes. While you might be keen to display your tree in the front window, think about hiding the gifts elsewhere until Christmas day. Most burglars are looking for an easy score – they don’t want to have to search through your house to find the goods. Don’t make it easy for them! And once the gifts have all been opened, take the time to break down boxes and stuff them into trash bags rather than advertising that you got a new television or laptop by leaving the boxes by the curb and in plain sight. A little common sense goes a long way towards protecting your home and your family during the holiday season.

  5. Upgrade to smart home security. It seems like everyone is jumping on the mobile bandwagon these days, and security companies like Vivint, ADT, and Modern Systems Inc. are no exception. If you already have a home alarm system, you’re ahead of the game when it comes to protection. But a good reason to upgrade to a smart home setup before the holidays is that you can use it to remotely operate electrical systems in your home. Whether you’re leaving for a day at grandma’s house and you want to turn on the lights and crank up the thermostat before you get home, or you’re going on an extended trip and you’d like to make electronic usage random (rather than setting a timer), smart home systems allow you to do so with simple taps and swipes on your smartphone or tablet. As a bonus, you can often get notifications when systems are tripped or sensors go off, alerting you when the alarm goes off, if smoke detectors are triggered, or even if a leak has occurred.

  6. Prepare for your online security for your travel. Before you start your travel, you might want to make sure you have considered Internet security during your trip. That's because you will most likely use public WIFI during your trip, which might not be that secure and your online activities might be accessed by hackers. One way to solve this problem is to get a VPN service, which will encrypt all your online acticities to prevent being backed. There're many VPN providers available with different focuses. For example, there're even companies specilizing in providing China VPN to their customers. You can check out different VPN review websites to find a good VPN service for your trip.

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