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4 days ago · by · 0 comments

Tips to Protect Your Home and Property This Halloween

Halloween is fun for many kids and families, but vandalism, property damage and insurance claims increase during Halloween. Protect your property this October with these tips.

Turn on the Lights

Reduce the risk of a burglary when you turn the lights on and make your home look occupied. Consider installing motion sensor lights, too, to deter criminals.

Install Security Cameras

See what’s happening around your property with security cameras. You can also install a doorbell camera to determine if trick-or-treaters or tricksters are on your porch.

Lock the Doors and Windows

Even if you’re home to pass out treats, lock your doors and windows. Don’t give burglars the chance to enter the back of your home while you sit out front.

Hide Valuables

Don’t keep valuables in plain sight. Remember to hide your new TV box and similar items, too.

Talk to Your Neighbors

Make friends with your neighbors to improve security on your block. You can watch each other’s homes and deter or report suspicious behavior.

Remove Tripping Hazards

Loose branches, kids’ toys, extension cords, and other debris can cause trips or falls. Spend time cleaning up your yard and porch as you reduce this risk.

Light Walkways

Install lighting along your sidewalk and porch to prevent trick-or-treaters from tripping. A well-lit property also deters criminals.

Use Flameless Candles

Jack-o’-lanterns are traditional decor, but open candle flames can start a fire. Use flameless or battery operated candles instead.

Lock Outbuildings

Protect your shed, garage and other outbuildings, along with the items they store, from vandals and thieves. Padlock the doors, lock the windows and tie down valuables inside.

Sit Outside

Greet trick-or-treaters from your front porch or yard. While friendly, this action allows you to watch your property and prevents visitors from entering or casing your home.

Secure Pets

Prevent your pets from escaping or running away when you secure them in a crate or interior room.

Seal your Mailbox

If vandals target mailboxes in your area, bring yours inside. You may also wish to tape your mail slot closed to prevent unwanted mail in your home, such as smoke bombs.

Park in the Garage

Protect your vehicle from vandalism and theft when you park it in the garage. Lock the doors and turn on the alarm, too. Alternatively, use a local parking garage or park in a populated or other secure space.

Update your Homeowners Insurance

If your home is damaged during Halloween, you can file an insurance claim. Update your policy now. Be sure it covers vandalism, fire damage and liability.

With these tips, you protect your home this October. They can improve the safety of your property during Halloween.

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

October Is Fire Prevention Month

With over 3 million acres burned this year, California is reeling under the impact. This is around 10 times more acres than the state usually experiences.

While firefighters fight on, and our state’s resources are strapped – much of our wilderness and trails remain closed. As regular citizens we may feel helpless but we need to continue to do our part to prevent fires when we can.

October is National Fire Safety Month. Now is as good a time as any to evaluate your home and workplace so you can keep your loved ones and employees safe. Consider taking these steps that help you prevent fires this month and year-round.

Fuel Remediation

Make sure trees and surrounding areas follow the local guidelines. Clear out flammable brush and take down flammable trees. Thin the trees (using recommended proximity guidelines) .

Organize your Space

Poor housekeeping can mean an increase in clutter and fire fuel. Plus, messy hallways and blocked exits, sprinklers or firefighting equipment can hinder escape and rescue efforts. Walk through every part of your building and perform a thorough cleanup.

Maintain Equipment

Machinery, electronics and other equipment can overheat and cause a fire. Maintain all your equipment to prevent this hazard.

Prevent Electrical Hazards

Faulty wiring and other electrical hazards can spark a fire. Perform regular inspections of the entire electrical system and make any repairs immediately.

Store Chemicals Wisely

Flammable chemicals pose a safety risk. Read the Material Safety Data Sheets and labels on each container, then store and use the chemicals properly.

Allow Control Panel Access

You can turn off the electric and reduce this potential fire hazard at the control panel. Ensure the control panel is easily accessible and that key personnel know where it’s located and how to turn off the electric during an emergency.

Stock Fire Extinguishers

Based on your building’s size and occupancy, you must stock a certain number of fire extinguishers. Follow this requirement and inspect the fire extinguishers at least once a year to ensure they remain in proper working order. Also, train every staff member to use the fire extinguishers confidently.

Install Smoke Detectors and Sprinklers

Smoke detectors provide a warning, and a sprinkler system can save your building, equipment and inventory if a fire does start. Install both of these safety features, and inspect them regularly.

Designate Specific Smoking Areas

Require smoking employees and visitors to smoke only in certain areas that are far from chemicals, papers and other flammable materials. Provide ashtray receptacles and stock working fire extinguishers near the designated smoking areas, too.

Clearly Mark Exits

Post emergency exit diagrams where employees can see them. Also, mark every exit with a neon sign, and place reflective tape on the floor and doors.

Perform Regular Fire Drills

Fire drills prepare your employees for a successful evacuation. Conduct these drills regularly.

Update Contact Information

All of your employees should know who to contact during an emergency. The contact list will include the phone numbers for emergency personnel and key employees.

This October, you can celebrate National Fire Prevention Month. Take these 11 steps as you prepare your commercial property to remain safe.

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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Let’s not go Phishing this fall!

There is a lot of ‘phishing’ going on these days. As many as one in five people fall prey to phishing incidents, but over 14 percent  don’t recognize these phishing attacks. Learn more about phishing and how to combat attacks on your personal or company email.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a scam that cybercriminals use to gain access to sensitive information. It often occurs via email. The cybercriminal will send you an email that looks official but actually includes spyware, malware or other malicious software. When you open the link or download the file from the email, the criminals can access confidential information like bank account information, your social security number and other data. In many cases, you never know that your information has been compromised.

How to Recognize a Phishing Email

Phishing emails are designed to look authoritative so that you will open them and give the cybercriminal access to your computer. While these emails often look like they’re from a real company, you can usually recognize them via five signs.

    • Sender Address

      Before opening any email, look at the sender’s address. It may look similar to the official company’s address but could be slightly off. For example, it may use dot-net instead of dot-com or include a small spelling error like micrsoft or micosoft.

 

    • Graphics

      Cybercriminals do a great job of imitating the graphics of popular companies. However, the logo, colors or design may be slightly off in a small way.

 

    • Spelling and Grammar Errors

      Most companies and organizations employ a team of copywriters who write professional content that’s typically error-free. Emails with spelling or grammar errors, are possibly phishing schemes.

 

    • Links

      Email links are a cybercriminal’s primary phishing tool. You can hover your mouse over any links and verify that it matches the address of the email’s sender, a sign that the link is safe.

 

  • Threats

    Cybercriminals use threats and fear to manipulate consumers. They may say that you will lose money, face criminal charges or suffer another devastating consequence if you don’t open the email. In most cases, these threats are meant to incite fear and get you to comply with their complicit wishes.

 

Steps That Can Protect Your Email

You can’t prevent cybercriminals from targeting you. However, you can take steps to protect yourself.

  • Install spam filters and virus scans.
  • Learn to recognize phishing emails.
  • Only open email links from verified and trusted sources.
  • Delete any emails that look suspicious.
  • Train coworkers and associates to recognize phishing threats.
  • Purchase cyber insurance that protects you if you are a victim of phishing.

You can’t stop cybercriminals from targeting your email, but you can use these tips to protect yourself and your data.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

Physical:
783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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(831) 661-5697

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