Tips for Ensuring Your Family’s Safety and Security in Your New Home

The contract is signed, inspections completed, and now you are preparing to move your family to a new location. You have found a great home and neighborhood and want to ensure the safety of your family, pets and property. Here are a few simple ideas to help secure your new property and ensure your family’s peace of mind at your new location.

Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the neighborhood:

            Take the time to introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Let them know who you are and who will be living (coming and going) in your new home. In addition, find out the people active in the neighborhood watch group. Meet with them to introduce yourself and offer to do what you can to contribute. In addition, take the time to locate the local police, fire, rescue stations and hospitals to understand routes and response times. Finally, reacquaint yourself with any features of the location like local ponds, pools, walking trails, parks, etc. and review safe usage of these areas with your family.  

Take inventory and fix/enhance the safety aspects of the property:

            Check how well the entry, walkways, driveway, yard space and window areas are lit. Add lighting (motion sensor lighting is great) where lighting is not adequate. Then examine the landscaping for overgrown or poorly placed bushes that can block out lighting or give potential intruders a place to hide, especially near doors and windows.

Re-examine the doors to the exterior:

            Doors should be built out of metal or with solid wood cores and have deadbolts. Sometimes the most aesthetically pleasing decorator doors offer the least amount of safety from intrusion. Glass panels in or next to the doors offer burglar’s easy access. When possible, replace doors that offer sub-par security before moving in for ease of mind and convenience.

 

Home and property security system:

            Having a security system can give you peace of mind when moving to a new area and home. If a system is already installed, have it checked out, upgraded if needed, and activated as soon as you move in. Make sure that either you or a security system professional check out the window and door sensors for proper functioning. Over the time that the house is up for sale, contract negotiations completed and your moving in, systems can get moved/knocked around and out of alignment. So take the time to test each location and alignment of the motion sensors to ensure they are properly aimed and positioned for maximum benefit. Security systems are an economical and effective method for ensuring your new residence will offer you the safety and security your family desires.

Moving is an exciting and sometimes stressful adventure. Secur-Tek, Inc. is here to help with your home security needs. We can complete a security audit of your home and property, inspect current systems for effectiveness, and offer suggestions on the current or new systems that are right for you and your location.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at your earliest convenience — either before you actually move (which is best so we can help you get your new home secure before your family arrives) or soon after.

Thanks for reading our blog and good luck on your adventure! 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Ensure Your Security System Is Functioning Properly with these Easy Checks

 

Your Security System is critical to keeping your family and property safe. Doing a few simple self-checks on your system is key to ensuring that it is working properly. We’ve listed a few easy, proactive actions you can take to ensure your system is operating in top order.

Perform Exterior Property Checks: 

  • Walk around your home occasionally and inspect the locks on all gates, doors and windows. Check the frames around each door and window to ensure there is no rotting, warping or any other condition that makes it easier to break in and enter.
  • Check all exterior lights (flood, porch, security) monthly to ensure they are functioning. Strong winds can sometimes cause security lighting to shift slightly or get debris on them so the lighting is not aimed exactly where you want. Readjust and clean the lights as needed to maximize their effectiveness.
  • If you have cameras included in your system, examine them to make sure they have power, are aimed properly, and have not been bumped or damaged. Also, take the time to check your monitoring and recording devices to verify each camera is getting an image and recording appropriately.

At Secur-Tek, Inc. we also recommend the homeowner perform a yearly system test to check that all communications throughout the system are functioning as designed.

Here are the steps to follow:

            1) Place your system on test mode by calling:

Secur-Tek, Inc. @ 919-387-1800, 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday

OR

Affiliated Monitoring at 800-434-4000 24/7.

Please Note: You will need your account # and password.

            2) Arm your alarm system like you are getting ready to leave – it should start to beep, and countdown.  Wait for this process to complete. The alarm system is now armed.

  • Activate the alarm by utilizing the device(s) on the system you want to test; for example, open each door or window. 
  • Allow the alarm system to sound the “big” alarm. After the alarm has sounded for 3 to 4 seconds disarm the alarm system.
  • Clear the alarm from the keypad by either hitting the reset key or entering your code and ‘off’ twice.

            3) Verify with Secur-Tek, Inc. or Affiliated Monitoring that signals have been received. If signals are received, inform them the test is over. If no signals were received, you may need to schedule a service call with Secur-Tek.

 

Replacing the battery  – your system’s main battery life is typically 4-5 years depending on the usage and environment it is stored in. Here is the step-by-step process for changing out your main battery when your keypad displays “BATT” or “LOW BATTERY”

Inside your security panel (normally located in a closet) is a small square 12-volt battery about the size of a brick.  See Picture Below:

  • First, disarm your alarm system.
  • Next, unlock and open the panel door. Slide the red and black wires away from the clips to remove the battery.

Please Note: We recommend taking the battery with you to purchase a replacement. If you bring the battery with you, the store can recycle it and you can get exactly the battery you need. Secur-Tek sells a 7AH Battery for $27.95 that you may purchase at our office. You can also purchase these at Batteries Plus.

  • With the new battery, connect the wires back to the terminals matching red to red and black to black — CAUTION – be sure to connect similar colors.
  • Close and lock the door. The new battery can take up to 24 hours to get fully charged. You may need to reset the keypad after replacing the battery to clear the low battery message.
  • Replacing batteries in your wireless sensors (example:  Door/Window Contact, Motion Detector, or Glass Break Detector).

 

Replacing batteries in your wireless sensors (example:  Door/Window Contact, Motion Detector, or Glass Break Detector)

First, you will need to put your system on test when replacing these batteries. The system will beep once when the cover to the wireless sensor is removed. You can go to the keypad and enter your code and off to silence this while you replace the batteries. Once you are finished, the keypad should clear of any troubles.

  • Inside each sensor is a 9-volt or 3-volt battery. Locate the tab or notch on the side or bottom of the contact and gently twist a flat head screwdriver in the notch to release the cover. Caution do not break plastic tab; if the tab is broken you must purchase a new sensor unit requiring a service visit.
  • Remove the cover and take out the existing battery(ies). Install the replacement(s), paying attention to match the polarity.
  • Now re-attach cover; the cover should click into place.
  • By following these steps, you can know that your security system is functioning properly, giving you the peace of mind that your property and family are safe.

If you have further questions, please call Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800. Asking questions now about your system or the operation of it can save valuable time later if an emergency does occur.

 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

 

 

 

Building a New Home? Want the Air As Clean As Possible? Consider a Central Vacuum!

Do you or a family member suffers from allergies?  Did you want to make sure the air in your home is as clean as possible?  Then you’ll want to consider installing a central vacuum system while your new home is under construction.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, using a central vacuum system vented to the outdoors can significantly reduce dust mites, pollens, animal dander and other irritants in your home. The University of California Davis School of Medicine asserts that allergy sufferers’ symptoms can be improved up to 61% when using a central vacuum system.

Due to the positive impacts on home air quality, central vacuum systems are a popular feature in new home construction. The vacuum inlets are strategically installed based on your home’s design for efficiency and ease of use. A great feature to this system is an automatic dustpan that can be installed in your kitchen or bathrooms allowing you to simply sweep unwanted dirt, food, hair or debris away.

In addition, the central vac canister, which is located in your garage, has an assessable inlet enabling you to quickly and effectively clean out your vehicles as well.

Now you might be wondering – would I have to lug around a heavy hose to connect to the central vacuum system?  The answer is NO!  You don’t have to drag around a long hose from room to room or find a place to store it – the optional Hide-A-Hose System, solves that problem easily. You simply pull out the amount of hose you need, connect your tools, and begin vacuuming. When finished, the suction from the central vacuum power unit retracts the hose for you, saving time and making your vacuuming more convenient. Hose lengths are customized according to your floor size and retract so they are hidden within the wall, attic or crawl space.

If this easy, convenient system that keeps your home’s floors and air as clean as possible sounds right for you, ask your builder about Secur-Tek and Dirt DevilCentral Vacuums with Hide-A-Hose Retractable Hose Systems.    

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Balancing Convenience, Safety and Security with Access Control Systems for Communities and Businesses

Homeowners Association (HOA) governed communities — residential, apartment, condominium and townhome complexes and larger businesses often have common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses. These amenities are great for residents or employees but create a number of liabilities for the association or business. Therefore, the board of directors, association or businesses’ management will need to mitigate these liabilities through the control and monitoring of recreational areas.  

To start with, a perimeter fence and controlled access gate are a must. Options available to control this access include:

  • mechanical coded lock systems
  • magnetic strip key cards  
  • coded key fobs.

Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry. 

For ease of access management, Secur-Tek, Inc. now offers cloud-based storage and log on capabilities. Using internet access with valid user name and password allows a client to make program changes or unlock/lock a door/gate from anywhere. For best control of your point of access, we install Keyscan access systems manufactured by Dormakaba.  https://www.dormakaba.com/us-en/solutions/products/electronic-access—data

 

In addition to good fencing and access point control, we highly recommend installing cameras and monitoring them. Cameras serve multiple purposes. When visible, they act as a deterrent and they can also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes. Should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras also offer the option to review what happened and validate that safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol. It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

Securing common areas while allowing convenient access for those authorized to use them is a serious issue for HOAs and businesses alike. At Secur-Tek, Inc. we can help those with that responsibility through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and safety/security requirements. Give us a call at 919-387-1800. 

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Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems.  Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Should You Have Your Home Security System Monitored? Seven Things to Consider

 

We often find ourselves dealing with change:

  • Moving into a new home and neighborhood
  • Completing a home renovation project
  • Upgrading our home’s technology — smart feature, entertainment or home security
  • Personal or family changes — like seniors coming to live with you or adding a pet to the family

And when you’re dealing with the changes, you may find yourself wondering, should I have my security system monitored? If so, taking the time to clarify and think through your security situation will help you make an informed decision.

 

 Seven questions to ask when determining your home security needs:

  • Do you have children, seniors or pets that are left alone during the day? What are their ages and how self-sufficient are they? Have you ever found yourself worrying about them or their safety while you are away?
  • Has your job status or personal situation changed so you find you must travel more and spend time away from your home?
  • Have you acquired any new expensive jewelry, electronics, or family heirlooms that would be difficult to replace?
  • Do you work more than 20 – 30 minutes away from your home, making it more difficult to run home to check on things?
  • Home location – does your landscaping hide your home or is it visible from the street? Are you near major roads with lots of easy accessibility?
  • What kind of security does your neighborhood have? Police presence? Gated community? ACTIVE neighborhood watch?
  • Do you have a pool, fireplace or fire pit?

If you find yourself worrying about any of these situations, here’s what monitoring can do for you. While deterring burglars or prowlers may seem like the main function of monitoring your house, there are also other critical aspects that monitoring offers. The key to minimizing loss of property or helping individuals in need is quick response time. Fire detection, heat sensors, air quality as well as senior/child/pet alert systems can keep a potential bad home situation from turning into a disaster.

So why monitor your home if there is an alarm installed?

The typical system will have a siren go off for approximately five minutes after it is tripped. If monitored and there is no emergency in progress, the alarm can be canceled by giving the monitoring station your password. If a burglar or prowler trips the alarm, they usually leave the premise quickly. In many cases, the intruder will then hide and watch to see if there is any activity in the home, or if police/people arrive. If so, they typically will leave quickly to focus their efforts on an easier target — a non-monitored home.

Low-voltage smoke detectors connected to your monitored alarm system give quicker responses to fires — much better than relying on someone possibly noticing smoke from your house and reacting to it.

Pro Tip: If you are away and unable to respond to an alarm, it is a good idea to have a relative, trusted neighbor, or friend know the code and meet the emergency responders if the alarm is tripped. They can let the police in and check to make sure nothing is missing.

Finally, you might want to consider this – monitoring isn’t just to alert the police or fire departments. It is there for you and your family’s peace of mind.  

            True Protection — Some homeowners assume a burglar alarm making a lot of noise is enough protection. In truth, like car alarms, home alarms are often ignored by people nearby, who assume it is going off by accident.

            Other Home Issues – While not as urgent as a fire or break-in, a gas leak can cause serious problems in your home. Monitoring systems can be set up to alert you in case of a gas leak or to let you know your freezer is no longer on — indicating a power outage.

            Assistance — Monitoring systems can also notify people that you need assistance in case of a fall or other personal accident.

            Sleeping Easy — Monitoring means someone is always keeping an eye (and ear) on your home. Many security system clients say knowing someone is there offers peace of mind, making it easier to sleep at home and while away.

Bottom Line: While there is a monthly cost to monitor your home, only monitored systems have professionals to help respond to emergencies 24/7. Once you assess your lifestyle, property parameters and situation, you may see that monitoring is the right choice for you. But please be sure to always read the contract you are signing carefully to ensure you are getting the exact coverage you require for the price you deem expectable.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your security system needs, please don’t hesitate to call us!

2019 is going to be a great Year!

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

8 Tips for Package Theft Prevention

Will you be receiving packages this holiday season?

Packages left on the porch/mailbox are vulnerable at any time of year, but the holiday season usually means there are a few more parcels arriving at your doorstep. A study from InsuranceQuotes that examines holiday hazards  notes there were approximately 26 million thefts of deliveries from doorsteps and economic indicators show online shopping is up over 28% so far for this holiday season over last year.

Whether you’re ordering gifts online for family and friends, or receiving them from others, you’re more likely to have packages sitting vulnerable on your porch this time of the year.

To prevent your deliveries being stolen, check out these EightTips for Package Theft Prevention. 

  1. Customize delivery. If the ordering system allows you to choose the time of delivery, select a time you know you’ll be at home.
  2. Get a smart doorbell.Swap your current doorbell for a Skybell and enjoy a higher level of safety and security with remote monitoring and cloud recording features. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see how and when packages are delivered. No more interruptions during family dinner or missing important packages while you’re gone! You can also check for unwanted visitors at your doorstep.
  3. Deliver decisively. If you’re not home much, consider having the package delivered to your office or a friend or neighbor’s house for safekeeping.
  4. Hold the post. If your package contains very valuable items – Have the post office or carrier hold the package. Request UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service to hold packages at their facility for you to pick up later. UPS has created a service called Access Point that enables you to choose an alternate delivery location in your neighborhood.
  5. Alert a neighbor. When you are expecting a package and won’t be home, you can ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for it. If you use Nextdoor.com or a similar neighborhood app you can let neighbors know if something has been stolen from your porch so they can keep an eye out and report suspicious behavior.
  6. Talk to family and friends who may be mailing your holiday gifts. Ask them to let you know when they send packages so you can watch for them.
  7. Light it up. Install outdoor lights. Your package is more likely to be stolen during daylight hours, but night falls early this time of year. Outdoor lights with motion or light sensors are a good way to keep unwanted people away from your home in any season.
  8. Monitored home security A home security system can do a great deal. If there are visible security features like cameras or alarms, potential thieves will be more likely to move along to a less protected house rather than risk getting caught by a security system. And you can even tie in your Skybell with security and automation features for greater convenience, like letting in out of town guests that arrive when you’re out doing those last-minute errands.

If you are going out of town, check out our Security Checklist before you leave.

We hope you have a great holiday season. If you’d like a quote on Skybell or would like to learn about other home Security System options to increase your peace of mind, please contact us.

 Happy Holidays to You and Your Family!!

Frequently Asked Questions on Home Security Systems

FAQs on Home Security

Do you have questions about home security systems?  We asked our staff to answer some of our customer’s frequently asked questions – check the answers below.  

How often should I test my home security system?  We recommend you test your system once a month.

How do I test my monitored home security system? I don’t want to bother the police. We are glad you asked that!  First, call the 800 number on your sticker and tell the monitoring company to put your system on test, then activate your alarm and call monitoring company back to verify alarm signals were received.   

Who do I call for service on my Secur-Tek system? To set up a service call, please call our office at  919.387.1800. Secur-Tek stands by our products and the same reliable technicians install and service our systems.

Can Secur-Tek upgrade my system?  Yes, but it does depend on the type of system you have. If you have a Honeywell home security system, we can upgrade your system by adding remote monitoring, cameras, and gas, smoke and motion detectors. If you have another type of system, we still may be able to help you, just call for a consultation or contact us.

How many cameras are needed to have a complete home security system?  The number of cameras you may need to safeguard your home depends on your home design. We can add cameras to most security systems and offer a complimentary consultation where we take a look around your home and recommend how many cameras are needed and the locations to install them.

Should I have my home security system monitored?  Having and monitoring a home security system can increase your peace of mind, especially if you travel or have valuable items in your home. For more information, see our blog on monitoring.

How much does monitoring cost?  We offer reliable, low-cost monthly monitoring. Our monitoring starts at $21.95 for standard monitoring and $31.95 for cellular.

Do you require a three-year contract?  No.

How long is the monitoring agreement?  Our monitoring contracts are just for 1 year. We don’t require long-term contracts.

Can I monitor my security system myself?  We don’t recommend it. Our monitoring goes to a company that provides monitoring 24/7 and will contact the police, fire and medical emergency agencies. They are always there to call the authorities.

What type of remote services work with your home security systems?  You can view and run your system from your smartphone or iPad with Honeywell Total Connect Services.  

What types of systems are compatible with Secur-Tek’s low-cost monitoring?  We can monitor many types of systems. To determine if your specific system can be monitored, please call your office.

We hope you found this helpful. If you live in our service area and have further questions, would like an estimate on upgrading or monitoring your security system, please give us a call at  919.387.1800

Secur-Tek, Inc. serves all of Central NC, including the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Pittsboro, Wake County, Chatham County, Durham County, Orange County, Harnett County.

HOA Security and Access Control — What to Consider

 

HOA-governed communities  — residential, condominium and townhome complexes — typically have several common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.

A private swimming pool run by a homeowners’ association is a very attractive amenity to current property owners and potential buyers. However, while they can be popular, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to the community, the board of directors or association management will need to mitigate these risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures.

There are basically four areas of risk to consider:

  • Someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool area
  • Chemical imbalances in the water that can cause illness
  • Overcrowding and unauthorized entry — people swimming during closed hours or unsupervised children and pets
  • Vandalism

Proper fencing and gating is the basic requirement to start addressing these concerns and is required by North Carolina State law. Check here for Wake County Pool Regulations: 

To control access, there are a couple of options available to HOAs ranging from mechanical coded lock systems, magnetic strip key cards to coded key fobs. Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter the pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry.

A perimeter fence and locked gate is a good start but will not always deter trespassers or vandalism and can’t help identify the perpetrators if this happens. So cameras are recommended to supplement fencing and gates.

Cameras serve two purposes. If they are openly visible to people entering your community, they will serve as a deterrent to vandalism and off-hours entry. They will also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes or in enforcing violations of an HOA’s governing documents. In addition, should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras offer the option to review the situation to ensure safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol.

It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

 Five Key Considerations when installing or upgrading pool surveillance cameras:

1) Fencing and camera line of sight

Angles and positioning are a major concern for which direction(s) you would like to aim the camera. Consider what type of zooming or panning capability you plan to employ in your surveillance. Be mindful of potential visual obstructions that could become a problem in terms of where the camera is positioned.

2) Height off the ground

If at all possible, cameras should be placed at least nine feet above the floor/ground, so that it will be more difficult for would-be intruders to tamper with them.

3) Image quality

Security Camera comparisonYour surveillance cameras should have “recognizable” image quality – could it be used to identify a suspect or clarify a situation?  

After all, what good is having video footage if you can’t use it when you need to? In addition to having the right camera, there needs to be enough lighting at night where the cameras are placed to produce usable images.

4) Camera angles

For example, a camera that is positioned in an area with seasonal trees could offer a clear view in the winter, but leavers may block the view in the summer. In addition, if you have a camera positioned to shoot into nighttime lighting or morning/evening sun, it could possibly hinder the camera’s field of vision for that span of time.

5) Hidden or Visible

When people (usually kids) want to “sneak into” a pool at night or commit vandalism,  they don’t want to be seen. Having the cameras visible and well out of reach seems to work well as a deterrent in the pool environment. Some HOA’s board prefer hidden cameras but at the end of the day, this is largely a matter of preference, and it’s up to the board to determine what they think will be the right move and at Secur-Tek we can help you through that decision.  

 

As you can see, there are quite a few important things for HOAs to consider when securing common areas. At Secur Tek, we can help HOA’s in the Triangle Area through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and homeowner requirements.  Give us a call at 919-387-1800.

 

Picture credit: www.versatech.co/analog-vs-hi-def-cameras/ 

 

 

Hello, Is Anyone There? The Scoop on Scams and Ghost Calls

 

How many times a day do you get phone calls, but when you answer, nobody is there?

It probably goes something like this – the phone rings, you pick it up and say “Hello” but nobody answers. This is often termed a “ghost call”, and they can be annoying.

To fix this, you stop answering calls from distant area codes. You check before answering to see if you recognize the number and it looks like the caller is local. But it’s another ghost call!  This is called ‘Caller ID Spoofing” – that’s when a caller deliberately falsifies the phone number on your caller display. Scammers have ways to make these incoming calls look like numbers similar to yours – sometimes by showing a caller ID that starts with your local area code – to entice you to pick up the call.

 

Who is making these ghost calls?   

As it turns out, although nobody answers your “Hello”, there probably is “someone” on the other end of the line: an automated computer system that’s calling your number — and tens of thousands of others — to build a list of live targets for theft.

That initial call you get, with silence on the other end, is the first reconnaissance call that scammers do. They’re trying to see if the number they are calling is associated with a human on the other end. If you even cough, it knows you are there.

The next step for them is to attempt to gather personal information like your bank or credit card account number, date of birth, Social Security Number, credit score etc. They often do this by giving you a call with a prerecorded voice. For example, “We’re calling with an important message about your debit card. If you are the cardholder please stay on the line and press 1. Otherwise, please have the cardholder call us at 1-877…”

 

Don’t call them back!

Another reason you may be getting the call with no response is when calls are part of a massive, international scam called “Wangiri” which is a Japanese word that means “one cut”. The scamming companies rely on people calling the numbers back in order to make money. “This is basically a mobile premium scam, what happens is somebody calls you, lets the phone ring once and they do it multiple times,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Delia Rickard told Hack News. “If you call them back, you may be charged a premium. Much of the revenue from these calls go to the scammer.”

 

So with all these calls targeting you, what can you do about it?

1stDon’t pick-up or answer a call unless you recognize the number or are expecting a call at that particular moment. No one is going to call with an emergency and then not leave a message. Most “unknown” calls are from bill collectors, scammers, harassment or wrong numbers. Since it is your phone and it is for your convenience then you can choose when you answer it and when you do not.

 

2nd – If you do pick up accidentally – Just Hang Up

The FTC is trying to combat the rising number of illegal automated phone calls. “It is the No. 1 consumer complaint that we receive,” says Patty Hsue, an attorney who leads the FTC’s effort against robocalls. The agency receives an average of 170,000 complaints per month about robocalls”, she related to  NPR’s Audie Cornish. The FTC recommends that consumers “just hang up” on the robocalls.

“We don’t want consumers to engage in any way with robocallers,” Hsue says. “A lot of times when you get a robocall you have the option of pressing 1 for more information or pressing 2 to ask to be removed from the list. In either case, pressing 1 or 2 basically lets the robocaller know that it’s a live person on the other line who’s willing to engage and that most probably will lead to additional robocalls.”

 

3rd – If you think it may be a legitimate call, hang up and then check the website of the organization calling. Use the website contact number to talk with a service representative. If you can’t find a website, then check the number online and see if it is reported as a scam.

 

Safety tips on handling Robo or “Ghost” calls from the FTC:

  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, a mother’s maiden name, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
  • Use extreme caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voicemail if you do not set a password. 
  • If you receive a call and you suspect caller ID information has been falsified, or you think the rules for protecting the privacy of your telephone number have been violated, you can file a complaint with the FTC. https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

 

How do I stop telemarketers and scammers?

The first thing to do is immediately block the caller number. You can also register your numbers with the national Do Not Call list at no cost. The national Do Not Call list protects both landline and wireless phone numbers. You can register your numbers by calling 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY) or https://www.donotcall.gov

 

Robo, telemarketers and “Ghost” calls are not only an inconvenience, they can also be extremely damaging if you don’t handle them correctly. Please take the time to check the number before answering and remind your family and friends to do the same!

 

Much of the information presented in this blog was originated by, NPR, Hack and the FTC.

 

 

 

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