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Financial Topics & Tips

Traveling? Protect Your Home

There’s nothing like holiday travel season for spending time with friends and family. But while you’re on the road, make sure your home and hearth are kept safe and secure so you don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises upon your return.

Hold the Mail Please
Snail mail theft is a top way to become a victim of identity theft because fraudsters steal personal information such as tax documents, bank or credit card statements, pre-approved credit card offers and more. Put a temporary hold on newspaper and mail deliveries or entrust a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and magazines.

Lock it Up, Light it Up
It may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure all your windows and doors are locked and secured is the easiest way to deter thieves. And don’t forget to lock your garage door as well. Consider installing outdoor motion detector lights, which are an inexpensive way to keep your home and yard safe. For inside your home, buy a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule, so it looks like someone is home.

Turn it Down or Off
 If you’re traveling for more than a few days, shut off your water to avoid flooding should your washing machine hose fail or a pipe break. Adjust your thermostat by about 10 to 15 degrees to conserve energy. And unplug your computers, TVs and other appliances to protect them from power surges.

Don’t Broadcast Your Absence
Make sure you don’t post detailed information on social media that may give the impression that nobody’s home for a week or two, which could entice thieves to pay an unwanted visit. The same goes for your answering machine or voice mail. Keep your message generic, and don’t infer you’re not at home. If you have a security system, notify the company and make sure security signs are posted to deter trespassers. But do tell neighbors or friends that you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on things.

Alert Us Before You Travel 
If you will be traveling and plan on using your credit or debit card, we recommend notifying your Credit Union in advance, especially if you are traveling to a city, region or state (or country) that you do not regularly visit.  TTCU member services can be reached at 800-622-2535.