You’ve heard the tales of the crafty “grifter,” someone who steals with a smile and a handshake: an operator, an investment partner, a “friend” who offers help for some quick cash to be paid “as soon as the bank opens” or a thief posing as a maintenance professional. There are many methods of this tricky criminal style. Here are five ways to keep grifters at bay as part of your overall home security plan.
1. Do a background check on domestic employees. There’s no point in setting up a top-notch home security apparatus if you are going to let your employees pilfer your money and possessions. Get recommendations that check out, and call back after about a week to make sure they are not fabricated sources. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has gotten a friend or relative to make the all-important reference call.
2. Monitor the deliveries and maintenance services coming to your home. Every month you receive deliveries from overnight services and water companies or have maintenance performed on appliances. Don’t let a phony “technician” slip through the cracks. A popular technique employed by grifters is entering the house under the pretense of a service to be performed. When you step away to make a phone call, they move on your possessions. If you have any concerns, tell them to come back another time when it’s more convenient. Legitimate companies will understand.
3. Keep your computer passwords locked and your computer on a safe network. One mode of attack these days is the assault on information, your social security number and other figures. Don’t leave your computer open around the house, as you never know when someone could make a play for your secret codes. Likewise, be careful of fishy websites and questionable emails you receive. Your home alarm system will keep criminals away, but others can attack via cyber warfare.
4. Upgrade your security technology. If you are worried about points at the edge of your property and hidden corners where there is no defense, consider upgrading your home security system to fill the gaps. Video surveillance could be the way to go, if you are willing to monitor your home’s outer reaches on your computer or wish to hire someone to do the job.
5. Make sure you know your children’s friends. It’s a good policy under any circumstances — knowing your child’s social circle — but it’s essential when these people enter your home. Children are usually optimistic about people and can be susceptible to hoodwinking. Advise your children on how to choose friends and remind them that anyone who will be in your home unsupervised needs to meet you face-to-face.