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California Security Companies Want You to be Protected Online

December 24, 2013
Like alarm systems protect your homes, good online safety practices can protect your computer and your financial information. Security companies suggest you follow these online shopping tips to keep from being swindled this holiday season.

1. Beware of scams

Unfortunately, while you’re thinking about what to buy your children or significant other, scammers are finding new ways to trick you into giving up your personal information. Be careful about phishing scams. These are very popular around the holidays. A common trick is to receive an email telling the customer that their bank information has been compromised. They are directed to log in and fix the problem by providing personal information. Never follow hyperlinks from your email. Always type the address into the browser instead.

2. Mobile Malware and Malicious Apps

Many people use their smartphone to scan product codes to find out about deals and coupons. Many malicious scammers are using the bar codes to hide viruses. Not everyone is aware that mobile devices are as susceptible to viruses and malware as a computer. They surf and download without a care in the world because they don’t realize that smartphones are vulnerable to attacks too. One way to stay safe is to only download official apps from stores you’re familiar with using. Skim the reviewer’s feedback before downloading as well.

3. Fake Contests and Promotions

Fake contests and promotions will suck you in with a fabulous prize like the newest game console or high-definition television. When you’re announced to be the winner, the scammers will insist on getting credit card information and other personal information like bank account information. These contests are on social networking sites like Facebook, which makes them seem legitimate. There’s nothing wrong with participating in fun online contests, but be sure they are from legitimate sources and never provide your personal financial information.

4. Check for the Lock

When legitimate websites are responsible for taking payment information, they want to keep you safe from theft. They will normally have a lock on their shopping cart section. Some websites like PayPal have a lock on the entire site because they are dealing with sensitive information. The lock or https in the address bar means that the site is protected. Don’t shop with a site that isn’t protected with https in the address bar or the lock in the secure area where you’ll be entering credit card information.

5. Protect Your Computer

It’s important to have up-to-date virus and malware protection on your computer. It’s not always necessary to have expensive software installed to save your computer from attack. There are many free blockers and virus protectors out there. Find one that updates automatically, so you can be safe from the newest scammer’s creations. It will help you breathe a little easier when surfing the Internet. Don’t forget to keep your other Internet-enabled devices free from malware and viruses too.

Alarm systems from California security companies can be trusted to keep your home safe with monitoring. Be sure you’re protecting your personal information with monitoring through vigilance, smart shopping and these tips for protecting yourself from computer attacks.

Dispelling Common Myths about Home Alarm Systems

September 9, 2013
Securing a home and keeping the contents and residents inside safe is one of the top priorities of any homeowner. Recent statistics by the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that four home burglaries occur every minute in the United States. These shocking statistics show how important it is for someone who owns a house to invest in the peace of mind and security that home alarm systems supply. Unfortunately, there are still myths about home security that we’d like to dispel today.

Myth #1: Alarm systems are expensive and require a lengthy contract.
There are many different types of units to fit various budgets and most companies that sell security systems are willing to work with individuals to help find a system that fits their budgets. As for contract length, these can vary from timelines of a few years to a month-by-month basis and depends on the type of plan chosen. In addition many home insurance companies offer discounts and benefits for those who opt for a security system. The cost of your valuables and loved ones being protected should also play into your cost evaluation.

Myth #2: Alarm systems are not pet-friendly.
While motion sensors pose a challenge for those who believe this myth, they don’t have to be used, and even if they are, they can often be adjusted for a certain height. In addition, some systems have sensitivity settings that allow for pet movement but will trigger if a home intrusion is occurring. For individuals who have dogs and cats, it’s advisable to speak with representatives of your California alarm company and have them help choose an option that is suitable—they exist!

Myth #3: Our neighborhood is safe, so we don’t need security.
Some homeowners believe the myth that their neighborhood is safe and a crime could never occur. While having a neighborhood watch in place is wise, burglaries still can occur. Unfortunately, people become complacent and routine with their daily lives, which make them a surefire target for a thief. Burglaries often occur after a neighborhood and home have been staked out, noting routine absences and vulnerabilities. If an intrusion occurs while someone is home, disastrous things could happen that authorities and neighborhood members would be unaware of. In addition a security system can protect against more than a break in with CO2 detection, panic buttons, fire detection, etc. Having a monitored alarm system in place ensures that authorities are alerted in the case of any home security.

Myth #4: Police will take too long to respond.
While it does take a few minutes for authorities to reach a residence, having no alarm would mean authorities are either not notified at all or if they are, they’ll certainly not be notified as quickly as they would with a monitored system. Also, having a system in a home creates three times the safety factor and chances of the burglar aborting his operation Time is on the side of a protected home as authorities have a quicker chance at scouting a neighborhood or catching a criminal in the act.

We encourage you to contact your California alarm company, ask questions and learn the true facts about various systems and what they offer. With special needs or concerns, custom alarm systems can be designed just for you.

California Security Companies Helping to Protect Homes Against Wildfires

July 15, 2013
California has its share of wildfires each year. Homeowners living in areas with wildfire risks learn to take precautions to protect their homes and be able to evacuate quickly if necessary. However, when many homeowners are not personally confronted with the experience, they often get the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, putting them at high risk in the event of an emergency. Before it’s too late, let’s refresh your knowledge and skills concerning steps you need to take to protect your property and family against wildfires.

Wildfires Are Mostly Caused by Human Activities

Your friendly professionals at Pacific Alarm Systems has been serving the Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange County areas since 1953. Being Californians, we know the damage that wildfires can cause. The National Interagency Fire Center reported that in 2012 there were over 68,000 wildfires in the United States; more than 9 million acres of land were destroyed by fire. Of all those fires, a full 86 percent of them were ignited by human beings, while the other 14 percent being attributed to lightning.

Part of the reduction of risk is simply not being the cause of a wildfire getting started. Follow common sense safety when it comes to fire and understand that it really only takes a single spark to ignite dry tinder that can end up burning millions of acres. Some tips to prevent a wildfire include:

  • Installing spark arrestors on all flues.
  • Installing spark arrestors on gas-powered mowers, trimmers, trail bikes, quads and chain saws.
  • Practice a no-fire policy on dry and windy days. This includes outdoor grilling, fireworks, fire pits and campfires.

Tips to Protect Homes from Wildfires

Some California security companies, including Pacific Alarms, install modern residential and commercial alarm systems using advanced equipment designed by Honeywell. An alarm system with fire, smoke and carbon monoxide sensors provides early warnings to facilitate escape in the event of a fire, but there are some steps that can help prevent wildfires from easily destroying homes.

  • Keep propane tanks a safe distance from the home. This varies depending on tank size.
  • Eradicate all trees and tall grasses at least to a distance of 200 feet (or to the property line) away from the home.
  • Install a metal roof.
  • Install metal fabric with 1/8 inch or smaller mesh to prevent embers from getting under porches or into attics through vents.
  • Close any open eaves with metal soffit and fascia.
  • Improve driveways and access roads to permit easy fire vehicle entry and exit.
  • Install a high-pressure, high-volume water line to be able to adequately wet down surfaces when wildfires threaten.
  • Thoroughly wet lawn areas when a wildfire is active in the area.
  • Keep firewood stacks a safe distance away from the home.

Home Security Options

Finally, take advantage of the low cost advanced early warning and 24-hour monitoring modern wireless alarm systems offer. The early warning of monitored alarms systems installed by California security companies will have the proper authorities dispatched regardless of if the threat is intrusion, a fire originating within the home or even a wildfire that has spread to the house. A quality alarm system provides protection regardless if the occupants are asleep in bed or away at work or school. Combine both the common sense wildfire protection tips and the early warning of a monitored alarm system as part of an overall safety plan for your home.​

​Alarm Systems Help Protect Your Summer Home Year-round

July 2, 2013
Your summer home is a great place to get away from your normal life of work, family, and the basic drudgery of everyday life. However, many people worry about their summer vacation homes when they have vacated their relaxing accommodation for the season. This fear is well founded: summer homes are prime targets for thieves once warm weather fades and people go back to their normal lives. A few simple tips can help keep your summer home free of burglary all year long.

Pacific Alarms is a company that cares about its customers and their homes; whether it’s the home they live in full-time or their summer vacation home. While having great alarm systems in place to help ward off intruders is certainly helpful, we strongly advise that your summer home always appear as if it is being lived in. Thieves want little to do with a summer home that looks like it’s more of a permanent residence, so keeping the lawn maintained, use time-managed lighting from your alarm systems to make it look like someone is home, and have your mail sent somewhere else so it doesn’t pile up.

California security companies know that their customers often have summer vacation homes, and include these homes as part of their security plan. As such, these companies often install state-of-the-art video surveillance systems so vacation homeowners can always be able to view their property when they wish. A video camera system installed in any home also helps deter would-be criminals from vandalizing or stealing from the home when the owners are away for the season. Pacific Alarms knows that a secure home is one that has professional eyes on it at all times.

Many people neglect to remember that their neighbors can be helpful allies when it comes to keeping their homes safe, particularly if they rent their property out at other times of the year. Neighbors of vacation homes can alert homeowners if renters are abusing the rental summer property or if they are damaging or stealing from the vacation home in any way. A person should also be aware of their neighboring vacationers for another reason: their neighbors can pose a possible threat to their property if they cannot be trusted. A homeowner who is concerned about their vacation home would be wise to get to know all the people who live near their vacation home so they can learn who can be trusted. In addition, inform the authorities of any extended leave you’ll be taking. Some areas provide periodic drive-by inspections if you request it.

A summer vacation homeowner is one who is well educated about the area in which they rent, knows their neighbors well, and has proper alarm systems installed by California security companies they know they can trust. In taking wise precautions against predators, a homeowner can know that their vacation home is safe at all times. Surveillance cameras can help a homeowner watch their property all times of the year, and using great tips to keep their home safe can help ensure that they have a ready vacation home to entertain them the next time summer rolls around.​