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Helpful tips, advice, information and fun facts on topics including safety, maintenance and homeowners insurance.
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From category archives: Florida Peninsula

What is Synthetic Identity Fraud?

    Synthetic Identity Theft is a type of fraud in which a criminal combines real and fake information to create an entirely new identity. This identity is then used to open fraudulent accounts to make fraudulent purchases. This makes it easier for criminals to steal money from credit card companies and lenders who extend credit based on the fake identity. This way, they are not stealing from actual people making it a lot harder to get caught.   Banks are usually the victims of synthetic ID fraud since most of the information these criminals provide is legitimate, such as a real name (but a stolen social security number). After all the purchases are made and they use up all of the credit, it’s the credit card companies who pay the price, since they cannot collect payment from the fake identity who established the account. This is a very tricky situation to handle.   Synthetic identity fraud has become one of the most common types of fraud, yet the most difficult to catch, and ...

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Holiday Home Safety

    This holiday season brings all sorts of activities. From lighting candles to hanging string lights. Here are some ways to keep your home and family safe from hazards such as fire and injury.   Lights: Inspect holiday string lights each year before hanging them up to ensure there are no frayed cords or cracked bulbs. When replacing bulbs, always unplug the lights first and make sure the voltage and wattage match the original bulb. When going to bed or leaving the house, be sure to turn off the lights.   Ornaments: Avoid glass ornaments, especially if you have curious children and pets. Using plastic ornaments makes tree decorating safe for the entire family. For pets, avoid hanging ornaments at the very bottom of the tree. To avoid injury altogether, gate off the area where the tree will stand so children and pets cannot get too close without supervision.   Candles: Always remember to blow out candles before going to bed and never leave them near curtains or flammable ite ...

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Protect Yourself from ID Theft

    Identity theft is a serious crime which happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information includes things like your name and Social Security, or credit card numbers. ID theft can happen anywhere, at any time. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to lower your risk of becoming a victim.   1.  Always verify who you are speaking to over the phone: Remember, banks or creditors will never call you randomly and ask you to verify your credit card numbers or social security numbers. This only happens when you are the person calling trying to get information about your account. Always search online directly through your bank or creditor’s website to obtain their official contact numbers. Never dial a number from a third-party. To be even safer, go directly to the branch to solve any issues you may have.   2.  Handle financial documents with care: If you need to throw away documents ...

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Thanksgiving Leftovers: Safety Tips

  Your Thanksgiving meal is one of the largest you will prepare all year, so you’ll be sure to have lots of leftovers for days or even weeks to follow. Follow these tips to make sure your Thanksgiving leftovers are both delicious and safe to put back on the table:     1. Your leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator within 2-3 hours to prevent the growth of bacteria. Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to decrease cooling time. This will prevent food from spending too much time in unsafe temperatures.   2. For guests who live more than 2 hours away, store leftovers in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs for safe travel.   3. Remove stuffing from inside the leftover turkey and refrigerate separately from the meat.   4. Avoid consuming leftovers which have been left in the fridge longer than 4 days. (Remember: it’s safe to consume leftovers until the following Tuesday after Thanksgiving)   5. If you ...

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Teaching Tots About Fire

When it comes to fire safety, younger children need to be taught differently, based on their ways of thinking. Unsurprisingly, many children are fascinated with fire, and providing a fire safety lesson a must. Here are a few points to include in your lesson: Teach kids never to play with matches, lighters or fireworks/sparklers: These things must always be supervised by an adult. It is important they know playing with these items can be dangerous and cause devastating loss to property and even people. Make them aware of fire alarms: By pushing the “test” button on your fire alarm, your children will be aware of what your home’s fire alarm sounds like, and how to respond to one when there’s really a fire. Teach them to get low and get out. A child who is coached properly ahead of time will have a better chance to be safe.    Create a family plan: Practice drills with your children and help them remember what to do as a family if there were to ever be a fire ...

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Practicing Fire Safety At Home

  According to Red Cross, if a fire starts in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Practicing a fire escape plan regularly could cut your risk in half. Here are some tips on how to properly prepare yourself and your family in case a fire threatens your home:   Install smoke alarms: All smoke alarms should be tested once a month and batteries should be replaced once a year. It is important to install the right amount of smoke alarms depending on the size of your home.   Prepare young children: It is important to teach your younger children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do when they hear one. They should also learn how and when to dial 9-1-1.   Have a discussion with your family: Make sure everyone living in the home knows at least 2 ways to escape, should there ever be a fire. Place emergency numbers where everyone can see, and everyone with a phone should have it saved. Come up with a mutual meeting spot, should there need to be a ...

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Scare Safely

As you begin your preparations for this year’s Halloween festivities, we want to make sure those cool costumes of your favorite superhero, monster, or cartoon character will keep you safe while enjoying the day. Whether you plan to dress up like Superman, Elmo, or a scary Vampire, keep the following safety tips in mind when trying on your costume: Choose fire-retardant costumes:  Check the labels of your costumes, as well as all your accessories to ensure they are fire resistant. This should include any wigs, shoe covers, and accessories which may compliment your look. Use Make up instead of Masks:  Using a mask may impair your vision and may cause you to dehydrate, as the heat builds up during your “trick or treating” around the neighborhood.  Instead, consider choosing hypoallergenic makeup commonly used for face painting as an alternative. Size matters:  When trying on your costume, ensure you have selected the proper fit.  Any dangling or loose fitting item ...

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10 Tips to Respect Wildlife

  When venturing outside of our daily lifestyles and into the wilderness for a camping trip or a weekend getaway, it is important to remember the pristine beauty and unadulterated landscape of the natural world is what makes it so attractive. When spending time off the beaten path and in the wilderness, we must leave no trace behind and respect the wildlife we encounter so others can enjoy the beauty of nature after us. Here are 10 tips that will help you respect wildlife:   1.       Travel and camp on established surfaces Using existing campsites, trails, and paths reduces the impact explorers have on the wilderness by eliminating new disruptions to the environment. If you are exploring a pristine area where existing campsites and trails are unavailable, disperse your activity over an area of land to prevent the creation new trails and campsites. 2.       Dispose of waste properly Do not leave behind any waste from your campsite, a ...

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Wildlife Safety Precautions

Before venturing out into the wild to spend some time off the grid, whether it be for a hike through the woods or a family camping outing, you must prepare yourself for the unpredictable nature of the outdoors. Weather conditions can change without notice or you may have an up-close encounter with a wild animal. Whatever the situation may be, it is important you take certain safety precautions to prepare for your adventure in the wild. Below are some safety tips to keep you and your company safe in any situation: Prepare for the elements When spending time outdoors, weather conditions can change within minutes, leaving you at the mercy of Mother Nature. It is always smart to bring a waterproof rain jacket to protect against potential storms. In addition, pack clothing that can be worn in layers to keep you comfortable for the warmer weather during the day, as well as the cooler weather at night. Spending time outdoors inherently puts you at the risk of sunburn, so be sure to pack at least SPF 30 s ...

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How to Identify and Treat Snake Bites

  Our warm tropical weather allows for residents to explore and enjoy the great Florida outdoors. However, our warm climate makes for snakes inhabiting Florida also become more active, increasing your chances of encountering one when spending time outside. Therefore, is it increasingly important you know how to identify a snake bite, and how to treat one in the unlikely event that you or another is bitten.  Fortunately, snake bites are very rare and the effects of them are almost never fatal, occurring six times per year in the United States, on average. Furthermore, only six of the 50 species of snakes found in Florida are venomous, so the chances of serious injury from a snake bite are likewise very low. It is still very important you are able to identify a snake bite so you can properly treat them. Snake bites are characterized by the following signs and symptoms: ·         A pair of puncture wounds, caused by the snake’s fangs ·&n ...

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