Consumer Tip: Don't Tip off Thieves You are Away for Summer Holidays

June 23, 2016


Vancouver, BC – In the digital age it seems that the majority of scams facing the general public are online. Many are, of course, but that doesn’t mean thieves and crooks aren’t out on the street looking for a home to loot while its residents are away on a summer holiday. An empty house, even nicely locked up, is a tempting target for criminals. The last thing anyone wants is to come home relaxed from a summer getaway to find their world has been turned upside down at home.

BBB offers these Top 10 Tips to make your house less of a target:

  1. Social Media. Speaking of the digital age…do not post on social media that you are away. While it’s fun to tell others what you are up to and sharing photos and experiences are today’s form of entertainment, it’s important to remember that the web isn’t as anonymous as we would like to believe. Don’t broadcast when you will be away or for how long. It’s an invitation to criminals to do some digging to find out where you live.
  2. Friends. Have a trusted friend help out while you are away. If you have pets, a close friend may even help out by housesitting for you. At the very least your friend can help make it appear someone is home  by bringing the mail inside, turning random lights on and off, moving a parked car to a different spot. Even take out the garbage. Remember to inform you neighbours that this person will around your home while you are gone. That friend just might go the extra mile and mow your lawn to keep it looking trim, but you may have to ask really nicely.
  3. Lights. The practice of leaving lights on may be ok if you are going for a quick weekend, but isn’t all that practical if you plan to be away for a week or more. It’s costly to leave anything on and it’s not exactly the greenest of behaviours. Leaving lights on constantly is also something of a green light for crooks.  Your best bet is to pick up a light switch timer that can be programmed to make it appear that someone is home.
  4. Spare key. If you’re one of those people who like to leave a spare key hidden around your property, a lengthy holiday is a good time to remove it. If a crook has time to look without alerting anyone then they have a better chance of finding it.
  5. Doors and windows. This, of course, if obvious. Double check before leaving that ALL of your doors and windows are locked. An extra measure for sliding doors is a piece of wood or metal in the track that would prevent anyone from opening it should they get past the lock.
  6. Valuables. Leaving all the blinds and curtains closed is an indication to a crook that you aren’t home. If you are leaving some of them open, make sure any valuables are not visible from the outside. Lock up any jewelry or precious heirlooms.
  7. Home security. If you have a home security system, let them know when you will be gone and for how long.
  8. Unplug. It’s a good idea to unplug any appliances or electronic devices should there be a power surge in your neighbourhood. Conversely, you could purchase a good surge protector and connect your electronics that way.
  9. Delivery. Stop any mail or newspaper delivery while you are away. Any pile-up of mail is a sure sign you are not at home.
  10. Water. While this is less about criminal, doing this can still prevent anxiety while on vacay. Turn off your water supply and drain the pipes. This prevents any potential leaks and time-consuming insurance claims. This is also best practice if you plan to be gone during the winter season and can prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.



Media Contacts:

Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor
BBB Serving Mainland BC
Phone: 604-488-8702
Mobile: 604-505-2307
404-788 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2M1

About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 111 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2015, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 7,500 complaints.