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Stealing Identity and Valuables: 22 Ways to Thwart Home Burglars
Identity theft doesn’t only involve computers, email and credit cards; it can happen the old fashion way with someone breaking into your home.

Identity thieves are not the only kind of burglar you need to worry about.

There is the casual burglar, the opportunist who sees an opening and takes it;

The “professional” burglar who wants your stuff and might spend days casing your house to determine how many people live there and the times when the house is empty; and

The home invader who is looking for trouble, murder and mayhem. (By the way, the casual burglar and the professional burglar hate confrontations. Really, they want to take the money and run. )

So how do you protect yourself from burglars and the identity theft that could follow?

Get a dog, even a small one that barks will work, but a German Sheppard works better. A professional burglar we interviewed said that a dog in the house would discourage him from entering the home, even a home he has spent days casing. He said that dogs are unpredictable in these situations and they cannot be scared off by pulling a gun on them. There was a situation in New York City some years ago when an apartment dweller came home to find his German Sheppard and a burglar dead in the entry. The way the police pieced it together, the burglar broke in, saw the dog as it was lunging, shot it through the head but somehow the message to the dog that it was dead did not sink in until it had killed the burglar. So much for guns with a dog.

Yes, to Home Alarm System

Get a good alarm system in the house, but remember, that alarm system can be compromised rather quickly by most pros. Get a system that sends a wireless signal so that the telephone lines cannot simply be cut.

Get a surveillance camera for outside you house, the kind that you can monitor on your iPhone. Monitor the comings and goings. Install a hidden camera inside the entry way to your home. It is one of those after-the-fact protection techniques but if someone has stolen values and papers from your home, perhaps the police the catch him before he has chance to do further damage to you.
Make friends with your neighbors and help each other out letting them know when you come and go and helping them when they come and go. If you become neighborhood or street conscious, it is amazing how quickly you come to see who is a “regular” in your neighborhood and who is not.
As for the amateurs-amateurs burglars and thieves are opportunists. If you leave your lawn sprinkler out in the front lawn, that is liable to disappear because it is easy. But for the more serious amateurs, here are a number of ways to thwart them.
One good way is to look at your home through the eyes of an amateur burglar. How would you go about getting into your house? Stand out in front of the house, walk around it and figure out how you would break in and then do something to counter that ease of access. Is there a kitchen or dining room or living room window at ground level around the back of your house in a secluded spot where someone could take his or her time breaking a window and climbing in? What about the door locks? Would it be easy to push them in? Could you simply break a window in the door, reach in and unlock it? The back of your house, like the front of your house, should also have motion detector lights. Motion detector lights are smart and cheap.
Lock up your home and car, even if you go out to do a short errand. 99 out of 100 times nothing will happen when you are briefly away from your home…but what about that 100th time?
If you are moving into a new home, change all of the lock tumblers immediately as you take possession. This, like all home security measures, goes beyond protecting against identity theft and is about the protection of you and your family.
Go wireless with security systems. The professional crooks want to snip wires and keep everything quiet in the neighborhood. There are advanced security systems on the market today that could throw a real surprise into even a pro and get the alarm ringing before he or she can stop it.
Make your house look like there is someone at home at all times.
Don’t have an alarm system that cries “wolf,” which means that if your alarm system doesn’t work right and goes off at different times, your neighbors will ignore it when it goes off for real. If you have had problems with the system, but have now fixed it, tell everyone in hearing distance that you have indeed fixed the problem and that if they should hear the alarm go off, it means trouble.
If you or a family member loses their keys, you must change the locks in the house immediately. Unless you know where the keys were lost, like down drain or in the lake at your vacation home, you need to take the precaution.
Never list your full name on your mailbox or on your house. Use your house number on the house and mailbox. Give the ID theft just as little to go on as possible. In the telephone book, use your initial and last name or don’t put a listing in there at all. With so many of us using cell phones instead of landlines today, it would not be uncommon for you to be absent from the phone book.
If anyone comes to your house asking for help. Keep the door locked and call the police saying that there is someone asking for help. Carry your cell phone with you so that you can make the call right at the door.
When speaking to a stranger at the door, away keep the door closed and locked and talk through the door with a strong door chain in place. We prefer the locked door. Don’t ever let a stranger into your house, ever!
Don’t let any sales or service people into your house without checking credentials. This includes if you have just visited your favorite home center and scheduled an appointment for a sales person to come out and measure for new cabinets. Have the slide their identification under the door or have them hold it up to the glass so that you can read it. Have someone else there with you.
Giving out keys to your home…don’t. This is a problem, particularly if you are a working person and need to let in a cleaning person to your home or apartment. When bringing in a new person, stay home the first couple of visits so that you can ensure they are good workers and seem honest. Better yet, have your neighbor, one that you trust, let the person in.
Set up a “Nanny Cam” around your desk area in your home to monitor it.
Another problem for working people is letting workmen into the house. Don’t leave a note pinned to the front door of where the workmen can find the key. Meet them yourself or have a trusted person let them in. Letting workmen work in your house unsupervised is just asking for big trouble. Even if you know the contractor slightly, you do not know the people working for him. Further, if he brings in let’s say a plumber during the course of the job, you know nothing about the plumber’s helper, do you?
Trees near windows present a danger in your house. Consider having them removed or replace or reinforce the windows.
Always have lights on after dark when you enter the house. Not just at your entrance, but light up the whole area so that you can see if someone is lurking.
Be original when you hide the spare key outside. A burglar who we interviewed several years ago-a reformed one who was working for a security company at the time-nine times out of 10 was able to go right to where the homeowner left the spare key. People really do leave them under the mat at the front entrance. Bury it or place it behind a stone in a stone wall. Naturally, a keyless entry solves these problems in different ways. Check out the new locks that connect to phone apps so that you can monitor who is going in and out of your house in real time and determine whether or not the door is locked or unlocked. If you use a keyless entry system, do not use your house number as the code to get in!
Beside the amateur and professional burglar, there is also the home invader. This is the criminal who is looking for confrontation. It could be a drug addict invading the home of a doctor. It could be someone looking for a pass codes to your ATM in order to empty out your bank account. Home invaders need to be dealt with on the spot and you need to plan your way depending on your beliefs and aptitudes. You may want that German Sheppard mentioned earlier, a personal, silent alarm you can use to summon the police or a weapon. Professional gun safety instructors warned us to never get a gun unless you fully intend to use it because it could quickly be taken away and used against you. If you do purchase a gun, it must be done to the letter of the law in your state. If you use a gun, it must be done to the letter of the law in your state.