News & Information

Safety and Security Bulletin-Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

Nothing can ruin the holiday spirit faster than becoming the victim of a crime. The holidays are a time for celebration. But it is also the season to be wary of burglars, thieves, and pickpockets. Unfortunately crooks view the holiday season a little differently…for them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize you, your home and your car. Here are some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

 

Protecting Yourself:

  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Have your keys readily available in your hand before you go to your car.
  • When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside. Check to see if you are being followed.
  • Lock your packages and gifts in your vehicle’s trunk. Keep your Door’s locked and windows closed.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit/debit card when possible.
  • To discourage purse-snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical.
  • Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep your wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

Protecting Your Vehicle:

  • Every time you leave your car. Lock all windows and doors. Be sure you’ve either taken with you or stored in your trunk items such as
  • GPS Devices, Cell Phones, Cameras, and MP3 Players
  • Laptop Computers and Cases
  • Purses, Loose Change, Bills, or Credit/Gift Cards
  • Bags and Boxes
  • Do Not Leave a Firearm in Your Vehicle.
  • A few extra tips: Remember to park in well-lit areas. Always be aware of your surroundings. Report anything out of the ordinary to security or police.

Protecting Your Home:

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.
  • Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for a potential criminal to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages.
  • Don’t advertise …Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors/windows. A holiday problem can occur when exterior light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured.
  • Don’t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, “You’ve reached the Wilson’s, we are away skiing for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.” Bad guys love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
  • After Christmas, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, flat screen TV, etc. on the street for trash pick-up. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down before placing at the curb.

 

 

 

Be Aware, Be Vigilant, Be Safe.

 

 

 

Safety and Security Bulletin- Fire Preparedness & Prevention Tips

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as it relates to fires in the U.S. last year.

  • In 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage.
  • 501,500 were structure fires, causing 2,685 civilian deaths, 13,000 civilian injuries, and $10.3 billion in property damage.
  • 204,500 were vehicle fires, causing 500 civilian fire deaths, 1,875 civilian fire injuries, and $1.8 billion in property damage.
  • 639,500 were outside and other fires, causing 95 civilian fire deaths, 825 civilian fire injuries, and $252 million in property damage.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from becoming a casualty of a fire.

 

  • Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them monthly and replace the batteries annually.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 911.
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
  • Purchase fire extinguishers, and learn how to properly use them

 

Develop Fire-Safe Habits

 

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside; choose fire-safe cigarettes; never smoke in bed, when drowsy or medicated, or in close proximity to anyone in the home who is using oxygen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.
  • Cook with care. Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. Keep anything that can catch on fire, like potholders, towels, or long sleeves away from the cooking area.
  • Never use a range or oven to heat your home.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets. If you need to plug multiple items into an outlet, use a surge protector.
  • If you live in an apartment or condominium. Do not grill in on the balcony/porch or breezeway. Per Fire Department Code, you must grill at least ten feet away from any building.
  • If you live in a house, make sure the grill is at least ten feet away from the house or garage structure.

 

 

 

Be Aware, Be Smart, Be Safe.

San Bernardino – Security and Preparation for Active Shooters

Safety and Security Bulletin

Active Shooter Preparation and Response

We live in an ever-changing world. Recent incidents, including the latest in San Bernardino, California, have brought to the forefront the scope of danger that exists in our society.  We, at Murray Guard, are faced with protecting the property, assets, and employee’s lives of our clients.  We take this responsibility very seriously.  We are meeting these new challenges by being currently capable of providing security training designed to prevent or suppress the possibility of these type incidents.  Our approach is to not only provide professional level training to our security officers in responding to these events, but to also assist our clients in training employees on how to react when faced with such an incident.

Our Officers:  The presence of an active shooter is almost always a surprise occurrence.  Whether it is a disgruntled employee, an incident of workplace violence, or a terrorism-based event, the response must be quick, planned, and decisive.  The training curriculum for our security officers is based on the best current practices available, and meets or exceeds existing expectations.  We train to succeed.  This training is built around the concepts of Contain, Assess, Evacuate, and Control.  We teach our people how to contain an area to deny the suspect access to other areas.  We train on how to think on their feet under stress, to assess the threat, then accurately report to responding units a precise synopsis of what’s happening, where it’s happening, and who are the suspect or suspects.  We prepare our security personnel to orderly and safely evacuate an area, to not only prevent injury and/or loss of life, but to account for personnel as they exit the area.  Lastly we emphasize the importance of controlling the scene until law enforcement arrives, then to assist the responding agencies as directed.  We also train our armed officers to be proficient in the use of firearms and tactics designed to neutralize any threat as a last resort.

Our Clients:  We offer our clients a training program for their managers and employees on how to react to an active shooter incident, based on the Department of Homeland Security guidelines of Run, Hide, and Fight.  We also provide the opportunity to receive a vulnerability assessment of their business or facility.  The emphasis of these assessments is on making the environment more secure by providing fact based recommendations to harden a soft target.  In today’s world any facility that invites open access to the public or provides a service to the community is to some degree vulnerable to an attack.  These assessments will help to identify those exposures.

It is our goal to not only secure our client’s facility, but to do everything possible to provide the safest environment possible for the customer, the visitor, and the employee…no matter what the threat

Safety and Security Bulletin

People who enjoy being outdoors and exercising will reap the many benefits, including fresh air,increased fitness levels, and more.  However, people, more specifically women who jog, walk or run alone are also potentially placing themselves at risk of assault.  One way to lessen the risk of assault is by using the buddy system, but this may not always be a feasible option for many women.

Here are five important safety tips that you should follow if you intend to jog, walk or run outdoors alone.

1.   Always carry a cell phone and identification.  Many women prefer to not be weighed down by any extras while they are working out, but carrying your cell phone will provide an extra level of safety in the event you are uncomfortable or approached by a stranger.  It can also come in handy if you need to call for a ride in the event of a twisted ankle or surprise thunder storm!  Even if you must walk or run alone, it is wise to let someone know when you left, where you intend to go, and when you expect to return. That way, if you are not back when expected, your potential whereabouts may be more obvious.

2.   Consider your routine:   While most walkers, joggers and runners have established routes that they prefer to follow, it is wise to vary your route and routine regularly.  Avoid going on the exact same route at the exact same time each day.  Doing so can make you a potentially “easy mark” for an attacker.  When your location is a bit less predictable, you may be able to avoid being followed on your regular route.

3.   Always be aware:  Stay acutely aware of your surroundings at all times.  Many women like to listen to music through headphones while walking, running or jogging, and enjoy “getting in the zone.”  Don’t let this zone interfere with your awareness.  Notice if the same car passes you  multiple times.  Notice if someone is following you or appears to be watching you.  Notice if a car slows nearby.  Call the police at once if you are concerned, If you suspect that you are being
followed, change directions or cross the street, quickly head towards an open store, a restaurant or a house with the lights on. Yell for help. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4.   Stay in populated areas: Most attacks on runners or walkers tend to occur in parks or on less-traveled paths. Although these are often very pleasant places to exercise, never travel in these locations alone, regardless of how safe you perceive the area to be.

5.   Carry a self-defense product, such as pepper spray or a stun gun.  And, know how to use it. These non- lethal, inexpensive and small products can allow you to deter an attacker long enough for you to get away, by using just one quick and painful spray to their face.  This weapon will also come in handy in the event you come across an aggressive dog that starts to follow or chase you.

Additional measures to consider as a walker, jogger and runner.

•    Advise someone of your workout times and route taken and check in with them when finished.
•    If you are not prepared to fend off a would-be robber. Never try to resist perpetrator who is trying to rob you – you don’t want them to become violent.
•    If someone robs or assaults you, report it to the police.  Try to give the police an accurate, detailed description of the attacker.
•    When you approach your destination, scan the area thoroughly to make sure no one is lurking around.
•    Always have your keys ready in your hand as you approach your door.

Don’t avoid getting your exercise in the great outdoors, just be smart and safe about it!  Common sense should always prevail when you are walking, jogging or running.

See Something, Say Something, Do Something.

Murray Guard Incorporates Trackforce™ Physical Security Information Management Technologies

(Jackson, Tennessee): Leading regional security services provider Murray Guard, Inc. is now incorporating Trackforce™ GuardTek™ Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) capabilities as part of its security service offerings to current and prospective clients. Trackforce™ is a leading provider of this technology, and has collaborated closely with Murray Guard in posturing our company for its deployment.

Trackforce™ integrates security devices and operational data into one common management view. The Trackforce™ product line includes applications for mobile data collection, electronic reporting/compliance, asset tracking, visitor management, package/delivery/mail management, logistics inspections/compliance (gate logs) and more. Trackforce™ provides intelligence to identify situations, present step by step instructions, tracking, and resolution management that is effective, compliant and timely. This robust platform documents the data and workflows that go with the people, products and processes required for real time management, audits and KPI analytics. With Trackforce™, our clients can have up-to-the minute visibility of the security situation at their facilities, immediate awareness of any emerging concerns, and confidence that their assets are fully secured,

Core Trackforce™ capabilities that Murray Guard is leveraging include the following:

  • Reporting PortalGeolocation & Officer Dispatch
  • Event and Activity Reports
  • Management Inspections and Audit Reports
  • Time and Attendance Reporting
  • Mobile and Desktop Clock InPassdown Logs
  • Incidents Reporting/Tracking
  • Post Order Management
  • Document Management
  • Compliance Inspections
  • Mobile Smart eForms
  • Resolution tracking
  • Smart Tours/InspectionsInteractive task lists
  • Mandatory Data Collection
  • Exception Notification
  • Lone Worker Protection
  • Visitor RegistrationVisitor & Truck Processing
  • Location Based TrackingGPS
  • RFID
  • Central MonitoringMulti-tenant architecture
  • Allow any feature to be a “Monitored”
  • Enterprise Management DashboardMultiple Location Management
  • Aggregated Reporting & KPI’s
  • Geographical Management

 

Murray Guard will tailor application of Trackforce™ capabilities for client-specific requirements, providing comprehensive, real-time security management capabilities tailored precisely to your needs.

For more information, please contact Blair Ross, Vice President of Operations and Chief Technology Officer, Murray Guard, Inc., at (731) 668-3400

How Security Enhances Your Company’s Bottom Line

Many executives feel that security is a necessary evil, but an unnecessary cost item on the budget, as it does not produce revenues or add to a company’s profitability particularly so in a number of specific industries such as Chemical, Industrial, Manufacturing, Distribution, Property Management, Water, and many others. We would contend that such a belief is simply not true! Security personnel, systems and measures, applied correctly (meeting design criteria and in keeping with accepted standards and practices within the security industry) can greatly enhance the “bottom line” of any company, particularly so in today’s uncertain economic climate by virtue of the following:

1) Prevention of Incidents:
Obviously, a primary goal of any security department and the systems and measures adopted, is to prevent incidents, particularly those that might impact employees, company operations, infrastructure, inventories, etc. A stoppage in operations or provision of services is measurable in many different ways, and I would put forward that security measures in preventing such stoppages is a valuable addition to the “bottom line”, as is the prevention of damage to infrastructure and other situations. What would be the cost to the company if a primary manufacturing area was damaged, or a warehouse destroyed with its inventory, or there was critical damage to a series of loading docks that disrupted supplies, etc.? Such events certainly give rise to thought.

It should also be remembered that while chemical and other sensitive industrial facilities have always been concerned about safety and the prevention of accidents at a plant, they now have to be very concerned about deliberate acts of sabotage. Such acts may be terrorist related, or the vengeful intent of a disgruntled employee. In either case, a successful event could be financially crippling to the company.

2) Prevention of Negligent Liability:
It is unfortunate that negligence can only be measured “after the fact” in the minds of many executives, but in fact, it is an area that should be considered in anticipation of an incident that might involve alleged negligence or alleged gross negligence. In today’s America in particular, the occurrence of a security event such as an active shooter, assault in the workplace, assault in the parking lot, theft of private data and loss of assets, will almost certainly trigger a legal action of some sort. It is unlikely that an organization will be able to completely avoid a lawsuit as such, but it is vital that the company be able to defend itself against any alleged negligence.

Those companies and organizations that take sound and effective security measures, and utilize adequate security design criteria in developing their security measures will be in a much better position to thwart charges of negligence than those who have not pursued such measures. Punitive damages, if proven in court, could mean very significant amounts in the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of dollars, exacted as a penalty against the company. That will certainly affect the “bottom line” even with the best insurance coverage.

3) Loss of Public Confidence
In the event of a serious incident taking place, particularly so in the case of hospitals, universities and critical infrastructure locations, there is a secondary cost in addition to the legal and health consequences;
that involving a loss of public confidence. Where that occurs, it is almost immediately followed by your customer’s loss of confidence. Everyone remembers the 1982 “Tylenol” situation in the U.S., or the 1984 Bhopal gas leak situation in India. Imagine the effect of an incident with similar consequences upon your company, and it was deliberate.

The cost of good security needs to be looked at in comparison to such consequences, though not necessarily on the scale of the two events referred to above.

4) Staff Morale:
There is a multitude of sources that detail the effects of low staff morale affecting productivity caused by everything from the Monday morning “blues” to personal concerns in their life, to corporate concerns which include fears for personal safety when at work, and fears of damage or theft of property while working. Good security will generally give an employee a feeling of being in a safe environment which is normally found to be a morale booster. Where a person is concerned that they may be accosted or assaulted at any moment, or harassed in a myriad of different ways, the productivity for that person is not going to be high.

One example is the use of CCTV camera surveillance systems, especially where there are exterior
cameras covering the facility parking lots, is to provide additional video monitors in areas such as the cafeteria, meeting rooms and supervisor offices where employees can see that their vehicles are being monitored. The increase in morale, and by definition, productivity is considerable.

5) Company Perception:
Good security at a facility is often a deterrent to theft and pilferage where otherwise, individuals or groups might easily be tempted to engage in such criminal acts. Consider the 10/80/10 rule in security where 10% of the population is believed to be totally honest all of the time. 10% of the population is believed to be totally dishonest all of the time, and the remaining 80% are prone to dishonesty if there is opportunity. Sound security measures are not only a deterrent to possible criminal acts from the outside, but are also a valuable deterrent to what is considered “insider” crime, and may range from petty theft to fatal assault.

6) Sales Advantage:
It does sound a little incredulous at first to suggest that good security is somehow able to assist and actually increase sales, but it is a perfectly valid point. From experience, and particularly in industries such as the healthcare, retail malls and higher education, where security and safety is a major factor in where people go to get their medical treatments, but their goods and send their children to college, the perception of being safe and secure outweighs other deciding factors such as distance and services offered.

Indicating to a customer that you have carried-out a qualified Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), devised appropriate security design criteria, and implemented sound security measures will greatly aid in the customer’s perception of your company, and its ability to provide product or services without incident. In addition to establishing long-term customer relationships, such perception will often lead to increased sales as well as referrals from that customer to other potential customers. As such, there is certainly an addition to the “bottom line” that is both valid and significant.

As can be seen, the cost of not having adequate security may well outweigh whatever budget costs apply to actual security measures and systems at a facility.

There are, of course, other examples of where good security can add to the “bottom line”, but these are some of the major ones and well worth taking note of.

Contact Murray Guard, Inc. to find out more:
Call Murray Guard at (731) 668-3121

7 Signs that a Weapon Is Being Concealed

By Michael Dorn

Helpful PowerPoint Presentation on Disguised Weapons

The man stood unnoticed outside the grocery store for nearly three hours before his ex-wife arrived. As she stepped from a taxicab, the man quickly stepped toward her and, to the shock of everyone present, quickly raised a 12-gauge pump shotgun from under his coat and killed her. Before the deputy sheriff who was less than 50 feet away could react, the suspect turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

This homicide occurred even though the grocery store hired an officer to protect patrons and employees. Although the deputy was an eight-year veteran, he did not notice the obvious physical behaviors that indicated he was standing near a heavily armed individual. These indicators could have helped avert the murder had they been noticed in time.

In this case, the victim was killed at a grocery store, but similar attacks have taken place at and near schools, hospitals and institutions of higher learning. In some instances, students have entered K-12 schools and universities undetected while concealing rifles and shotguns before committing multiple-victim homicides.

One valuable tool for campus personnel is the technique of visual weapons screening. Visual screening techniques have been used to recover thousands of firearms and other weapons and have averted a number of planned weapons assaults. Visual screening is an inexpensive and effective means to help counter such dangers as campus violence, gang violence and even terrorism. Visual screening is not a theoretical concept but a proven technique tested under difficult field conditions.

Weapons Violators Come From All Backgrounds

Studies indicate there is no reliable profile of the weapons violator. People who carry and use weapons unlawfully are white, Latino, Asian or any other race or ethnicity. They are male or female. They wear expensive clothing, including tailored suits, and they are from all socioeconomic classes.

A weapons violator may be a high school dropout or, as we have seen in several university shootings, may have a Ph.D. or be working on one. The violator may at first glance look like anyone else because there is no reliable or viable profile. In fact, relying on this method can be dangerous. What is consistent about those who carry a weapon unlawfully, particularly a firearm, is the presence of certain physical behaviors. In short, individuals who carry a gun do specific things we can observe because of the presence of the gun on their person. Rather than relying on ineffective and, in our country at least, illegal methods like profiling, police and security personnel should focus their attentions on the specific behaviors that may indicate the presence of a weapon.

Screeners Must Consider Many Behaviors

Visual weapons screening is a valuable tool that helps officers and others with security concerns spot individuals who deserve closer observation and, when appropriate, a lawful physical search. In some cases, the indicator may be rather weak and will be observed when people are not armed — for example, the sag of a jacket on one side of the body. In other instances, such as when the muzzle of a shotgun can be seen protruding from under a trench coat, we know instantly the individual is in fact carrying a weapon (and in that case, is most likely about to use it).

One of the most important concepts of visual weapons screening is behavior clusters. For example, an individual who fails to swing his right arm may be armed and trying to avoid hitting their elbow on the weapon. But an individual who adjusts something under his clothing above the waistline, looks around very nervously and then walks away while not swinging his right arm when he spots an officer watching him is far more likely to be armed. The totality of circumstances will dictate the degree of likelihood of an individual being armed.

Learn to Recognize These Behaviors

Officers and other campus personnel, such as school counselors and faculty members, have learned to identify the specific indicators that a person may be armed. Below are a few of the most common. It should be noted, however, that the following signs do not always indicate the presence of a weapon:

1. Security Check:
Gun violators in particular will typically touch and/or adjust the weapons concealed on their bodies numerous times during the day. This may be a gentle and difficult to observe bump with the elbow, wrist or hand. On rare occasions, it could be a distinct grasping of the weapon as they adjust it. Violators often make this gesture when getting out of a chair or a car or when walking up a flight of stairs or high curb.

2. Unnatural Gait:
Gun violators may walk with an awkward gait. They may fail to bend their knees because they have rifles or shotguns in their pants. They may also walk uncomfortably because they have guns, knives or other weapons hidden in their boots or shoes causing discomfort. Again, the total circumstances will indicate the likelihood of a weapon being present.

For example, an individual with a disability may also not bend the leg or walk with an unnatural gait, but he or she will likely not appear to be nervous. You will also not see the rigid line of a rifle running down the outer pants leg as the person walks or the periodic bulge from the butt of the gun above the waistband as it moves back and forth.

3. Jacket Sag:
When you place a handgun in a jacket pocket, the coat typically hangs lower on the side where the weapon is located. In addition, you will often see the fabric pulled tight from the weight of the gun, and the weapon may swing as a violator walks. Often, the outline of the weapon may be observed in the pocket area. In some cases, the violator will attempt to hold or pin the weapon if it begins to swing or beat against their body. In cases where the violator becomes extremely nervous when approached by an officer, he or she may actually grasp the weapon to keep it from swinging or put a hand in the pocket. While this is often seen when people have items other than a weapon in their pocket, it is also an indicator that is very typical of the gun violator, particularly when observed with other behaviors described here.

4. Hunchback Stride:
When trying to conceal a shotgun, rifle or submachine gun under a coat while walking, the butt of the weapon will often cause a noticeable bulge behind the armpit. Additionally, the jacket does not move naturally because it is supported by the outline of the weapon. Also, when someone wears a shoulder holster or straps on a sawed-off rifle, shotgun or submachine gun under his or her arm, a bulge in front of or behind the armpit will often be visible.

5. Bulges and the Outline of a Weapon:
An alert officer can often spot the telltale bulge of the weapon or, in some instances, the distinct outline of a handgun, knife or brass knuckles in a violator’s pocket. This may also sometimes be observed in a woman’s purse, book bag or other hand carried item. In some instances, violators wrap a long gun in a blanket or long jacket.

6. Visible Weapon:
Clearly the most reliable of all the indicators is when the weapon can actually be seen. It is astounding how many times an armed intruder has entered a facility with a rifle or shotgun protruding from under his or her jacket without being observed by staff.
In some cases, the butt of a handgun is visible because it is sticking out from a back or front pocket. A more common instance is the clip-on pocketknife that can be observed clipped to a front pocket or in the waistband.

7. Palming:
Most often observed with the edged weapon violator but occasionally seen with gun violators, palming behaviors often indicate imminent risk to the observer. The knife violator may run the blade of the weapon up along the arm or behind the leg to conceal it from frontal view. Just before a target is attacked, a violator will also typically have his or her eyes fixed on the intended victim.

Apply Weapons Detection Practices Wisely

Visual weapons screening has proven to be extremely effective, especially if the screener is properly trained. But as mentioned before, these techniques must be applied with common sense, in accordance with the laws of search and seizure for your situation and with a careful view of the overall context. Visual screening techniques are easy to learn, retain and apply as long as those who need to use them are alert and observant.
Use these simple but powerful techniques to your best advantage. The life you save may be your very own.

About the Author: Michael Dorn
Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non- profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation’s largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at mike@weakfish.org. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine. Contact Michael Dorn: mike@weakfish.org

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious problem affecting more people every day. That’s why learning how to prevent it is so important. Knowing how to prevent identity theft makes your identity more secure. The more people who know how to prevent identity theft, the less inclined others may be to commit the crime.

Preventing identity theft starts with managing your personal information carefully and sensibly. We recommend a few simple precautions to keep your personal information safe:

Only carry essential documents with you.

Not carrying extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you outside the house can help you prevent identity theft.

Keep new checks out of the mail.
When ordering new checks, you can prevent identity theft by picking them up at the bank instead of having them sent to your home. This makes it harder for your checks to be stolen, altered and cashed by identity thieves.

Be careful when giving out personal information over the phone.
Identity thieves may call, posing as banks or government agencies. To prevent identity theft, do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

Your trash is their treasure.
To prevent identity theft, shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before throwing it away.

Make sure others are keeping you safe.
Ensure that your employer, landlord and anyone else with access to your personal data keeps your records safe.

Stay on top of your credit.
Make sure your credit reports are accurate and that you sign up for a credit monitoring service, which can alert you by email to changes in your credit report – a helpful way to prevent identity theft.

Protect your Social Security Number.

To prevent identity theft, make sure your bank does not print your Social Security Number on your personal checks.

Follow your credit card billing cycles closely. Identity thieves can start by changing your billing address. Making sure you receive your credit card bill every month is an easy way to prevent identity theft.

Keep a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers filed away.
If your wallet is stolen, being able to quickly alert your creditors is essential to prevent identity theft.

Create passwords or PIN numbers out of a random mix of letters and numbers.
Doing so makes it harder for identity thieves to discover these codes, and makes it easier for you to prevent identity theft.

Security at the Bank

You can limit your vulnerability to theft at the bank or ATM with a little caution and a few basic strategies:

  • Speak Softly to the Teller.
  • Fill Out Your Forms Ahead of Time.
  • Inspect the ATM Before You Use It.
  • Shred Your Receipts. Many people throw out their bank or ATM receipts as soon as they get them. However, a thief can use the receipt to determine if you’re a good target for robbery.
  • Stick to Daylight Hours. Emergencies happen, and sometimes you have to use the ATM at night. However, whenever possible, stick to the daytime when doing your banking.
Copyright © 2017 Murray Guard Inc.