Tips for keeping safe around the house
Recent break ins in certain areas of Brackenfell have highlighted a need to re-iterate some of our “Common Sense” Safety Tips:
- Fit suitable “spacers”, locks or bolts to all sliding doors to prevent them from being lifted off their tracks (the most common method used by burglars on sliding doors and windows).
- Install outside lights that can be remotely controlled from inside the house. Consider installing lighting outside which is activated by a motion detector.
- Reduce all heavy foliage near the garage entrance and front door to reduce the possibility of those spots being used as a hiding place.
- To avoid gate lifting fit an anti-theft bracket on your gate motor and additional welding on the gate to keep it securely in place. This just means positioning one or two extra arms over the top of the gate so it cannot be lifted up, or welding a bolt into the frame of the gate that then slides into position to secure the gate as it is closed.
Security Message from ADT: There has recently been an increase in the reported number of ‘remote jamming’ incidents in Cape Town. Criminals are using electronic devices to disrupt the signal of remotes that activate the car alarm.
It is possible to lessen the risk of your vehicle being targeted once you have parked:
- Manually check that the windows are closed and that the doors are properly locked before you walk away.
- Never leave valuables – including your driver’s licence or house keys – on the seats or where they can be easily spotted from outside the vehicle.
- Where possible lock expensive items – like laptops or iPads – in the boot or preferably leave them at home.
- Ensure that your GPS device does not contain waypoints marked as “Home”, “Office”, etc. as this could lead to further incidents.
It is also of the utmost importance to always be aware of your surroundings as this may prevent you from becoming the victim of a potentially dangerous situation.
Ongoing Scam – Warning from SAPS
SAPS would like to send out a warning to the community regarding criminals that knock on doors of residentsand inform them, that they are gardeners and that the (so called) neighbour requests that they go into the premises to cut down or trim a tree or branches. This could lead to criminal activities. It is not safe for a stranger to enter your premises. Please phone your neighbour to confirm. Do not let any stranger enter your house, or do not even open the gate for strangers.
Keep Laptops safe with a lockable cable
In this picture two laptops have been secured by astrong, lockable steel cable which is attached to a table leg or strong bolt underneath the table.The cable is very difficult to cut. All laptops have this facility and the cable is available at all computer shops.
The thief most likely doesn’t walk around with a bolt cutter and probably won’t have time to remove the cable. With laptops being such desirable items in house robberies, we thank Robert, The Hireman for this handy tip. As he says, “Don’t think it can’t happen to me”.
Enable GPS Tracking on your Smartphone
To-day many cellphone users have what is commonly called a smartphone. A smartphone, according to Wikipedia, “is a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone. Smartphones and feature phones may be thought of as handheld computers integrated with a mobile telephone.” One of the many applications found on most smartphones is a tracking application.In one recent incident a smartphone stolen in Llandudno was tracked and found in Camps Bay. If your mobile telephone is a smartphone, it is an excellent idea to get the tracking application enabled, as this will provide similar valuable intelligence should it be stolen along with other valuables from your house or car.
If you are in doubt as to how to enable this feature, or even whether your phone has such a feature, we suggest you contact your mobile Service Provider. Or read this blog>>
South African consumers need to be wary of a phone scam that has left some victims hundreds of rands out of pocket. Scammers are using several well-known brands, including Microsoft, to fool people into believing that something is wrong with their computers.
The scam typically unfolds in the following manner:
- A cold caller, claiming to be a representative of Microsoft, one of its brands or a third party contracted by Microsoft, tells the victim they are checking into a computer problem, infection or virus that has been detected by Microsoft.
- They will trick consumers into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge them for the removal of this software.
- They tell the victim they can help and direct them to a website that then allows the scammers to take control of the computer remotely, adjusting the settings and leaving the computer vulnerable.
- The cold caller will then spend some time on the computer trying to demonstrate where the ‘problems’ are and in the process convinces the victim to pay a fee for a service that will fix the computer.
Cybercriminals often use public phone directories to harvest consumer names and personal information, thereby garnering consumer trust in the sheer level of knowledge they appear to offer about them. These callers claim to be from Windows Helpdesk, Windows Service Centre, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Support, Windows Technical Department Support Group and even Microsoft’s Research and Development Team. In reality, there is nothing wrong with these computers but the scammer has tricked the consumer into believing there is a problem and that paying the fee is the best way to get it fixed. Often they will also push the customer to buy a one year computer maintenance subscription. They are just trying to steal money from innocent people. Don’t be fooled, it is not practice at Microsoft to cold call consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs or viruses.In the rare instance where Microsoft might contact consumers directly, the caller will be able to verify the existence of a current customer relationship.
A few basic pieces of advice can help South African consumers from being taken in by this and other scams:
- Do not purchase software or services over the telephone.
- If there is a fee associated with the service, hang up.
- Consumers should never authorise remote control over a computer to a third party unless they can confirm that they are legitimate representatives of a computer support team with whom they are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information and report them to the South African Police Services (08600 10111) immediately.
- Never provide credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
If anyone fears they may already have been scammed, they should:
- Change the computer password, change the email password and change the password for any financial accounts (including bank and credit cards);
- Scan their computer to find out if they have malware installed;
- Keep an eye on bank accounts and report any potentially fraudulent activities immediately;
- Ensure the operating system is full updated and that all security updates are installed; and
- Make sure the system is protected with strong passwords that are changed regularly. It-Online >>
22 October 2012: The Diep River police have warned the public of a conman operating in the area. This could spread to other areas so be alert. The suspect is a tall, slender coloured male, very neatly dressed. He carries a clip board and a card with the City of Cape Town logo on it. He targets the elderly and women. He will approach the house and ask to speak to both owners, thus finding out that the women is alone! He will then convince the occupier that he needs to check the circuit box and various plugs. He then instructs the owner to stand by the box to shut it down while he checks various plugs and then steals items from the bedroom and study.
Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it..
If you use a GPS don’t put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a shop or a garage) so you can still get directions to your home area if you are returning from a strange place, but no one else would know where you live, if your GPS were stolen. There are stories of people who have had a GPS stolen from their car, as well as house keys and remotes. With these items in their possession, and a knowledge of your home address, thieves can readily empty your house of all your valuables before you are even aware of the initial theft!
Security lights on the outside of your house improve the physical protection of your house.The lights should bedirected away from the house and must allow the occupants to use the windows without being observed from outside. Be aware of possible shadows and blind spots.
Theft out of Vehicles – always one of the highest categories of reported crime!
Theft out of Vehicle remains one of the highest categories of crime in the valley. In almost all incidents, something of value has been left in the car. Be sure to remove all items of value from your vehicles when parking. Even a jacket or a blanket is a smash-and-grab opportunity to a casual stroller. Suspects will even look for the suction cup marks on windscreensfrom the GPS unit and break a window to check if unit is in cubby hole. In rainy weather check parked cars for wipe marks – “shopping” criminals will wipe moisture from side windows to see whether there are valuables in the vehicle. If you see this tell tale sign on parked vehicles, report to Watchcon as criminals are shopping!
Reflective Numbering – Ensure your house is easily identifiable.
At a past HBNW AGM it was noted that many Hout Bay residents do not have adequate identification on their houses. In any type of emergency, be it of a security, fire or medical nature, the emergency personnel often have great difficulty finding their way to the correct residence. Reflective numbering will alleviate this problem. “Emergency personnel find that their services are delayedwhen members need to search for residences due to the fact that many houses have no numbers on them, or numbers are placed where they cannot be seen. These delays are very frustrating and we need to get involved to rectify the matter. In addition there are no street lights to assist personnel in finding your residence in the case of an emergency. If you look around in your neighbourhood, I am 100% positive that you will find many examples of this.” Install reflective numbers at the most strategic spot which will illuminate when a vehicle passes with normal headlights switched on. If emergency services need to respond, there will be no need to search for your residence and these saved minutes could save your life.
We have received this information through Houtbay Watch.