How easily we sometimes forget the times we’re living in

Beware of what's in your car's glove box

Beware of what's in your car's glove box

We had guests from Palm Beach at the Inn over the weekend. This was already their 3rd stay in a year and we are fast becoming good friends. Friday and Saturday night were spent in their company with an unspecified number of bottles of exquisite Champagne, Wine and a bottle of 12 year old Trinidadian rum that went ad fundum in no time flat. No harm done…we were on the beach 20 feet in front of the Inn and only had to cross the street to get safely home.

As the magnificent moon came up in the East (yes I know technically this incorrect), and dozen of pictures were taken and uploaded onto respective Facebook pages, James all at once said loud more to himself than anyone else: “Why do I let everyone know that I’m not home right now?”

And that was yet another moment of clarity on how we have embraced online transparency to the point where we actually invite mishap and mayhem with consequences beyond our consideration. Think for example insurance. How long do you think it will be before insurance company decline theft claims that happened when you posted on your Facebook profile or Twitter account, that you are not at home?

Here are some other pointers on where to be careful with what you do and don’t do that invites mishap and mayhem.

What’s in Your Glove Box

A friend of a friend left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should not leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

Global Positioning System

A while ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.

The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.

Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it… Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

Cell Phones

I never thought of this…….This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. 20 minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says’I received your text asking about our pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.’ When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

MORAL OF THE LESSON:

a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc….

b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.

c. Also, when you’re being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you.

And while you’re at it, check occasionally which private pictures and videos you want to keep on your phone and if you buy something on your cell phone make sure there is no private financial information left on it.

Making arrangements for mail pick up and newspaper delivery halt when going on vacation is 20th century. We’re dealing with a completely new set of electronic and digital dangers these days.