Some twenty odd years ago, some friends of ours had their battery stolen from an old Ford Bronco they had parked in their driveway. A few days later, they were surprised to find a brand new battery sitting on their porch with a note that said, “We had an emergency, sorry about the battery. Here’s a new one, and a pair of Dallas Cowboys tickets for the trouble.” The whole thing seemed strange, but they did live a block from a major highway so it did seem plausible that someone might have had car trouble and without cell phones or On-Star, perhaps the stolen battery may have helped someone after all. In any case, they happily went to the football game. Upon their return home however, they discovered that their house had been severely burglarized.
The moral of the story is, “Don’t let the bad guys know your house is empty!” Most people wouldn’t leave an outbound message on their voice mail that tells people they’re on vacation for a week. People don’t let their mail accumulate, their newspapers pile up, or their lawn get out of hand while they’re away, either. Here’s the funny thing; Users of social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) think nothing of posting real-time photos showing themselves laying on beaches, conquering mountains, ambling through zoos, or strolling down the boardwalk, half a world away from their homes! They brag about being away!
Make no mistake; the bad guys are definitely online. Recently, a couple from
My wife and I pay a friend of ours to live in our house and watch the mail, the dogs, the house, etc, while we’re gone for an extended vacation. Even if we’re just gone overnight, we let our neighbors know, and they come over to check on things. When I lived alone in my townhouse, it was a bigger problem. I lived near the airport and the townhome complex was full of flight attendants and pilots who were gone all the time, like I was. We all had each others keys and took turns watching TV or cooking dinner in each other’s house occasionally, just to keep things looking “lived in.”
However you decide to handle your home while you’re away, take great care to avoid telling the whole world about it!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.