$50.00 Referral Gift Certificate

We’re offering a $50.00 gift certificate to Golden Ponds Restaurant for any successful referrals received. It’s our way of saying thank you. We appreciate you wanting to keep your friends and loved ones safe.

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Spring Reminder

Don’t forget to check the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Be safe! If you need us, give us a call.

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Online Dating – Offline Burglary!

burglarImagine that you’re recently divorced, or broken up, or are just plain lonely and would like company.  Like so many others you happen to see a story about an online dating service.  You go to the site, everything looks positive and above-aboard and you think — why not?  You sign up.  And as soon as you do, someone bright, attractive, who shares all the interests you do, and matches all the criteria you want, shows up.  You email each other.  You exchange calls.  You arrange a meeting.

But the person doesn’t show up.  Eventually you go back home — and your place has been robbed.  Stripped clean of every valuable you had.

It was all a set-up.  The person in question told you what you wanted to hear so that they could get you out of your place while the robbery took place.  But how did they get past the home security system?  Oh, that’s right — you don’t happen to have one.

It could have been worse.  The thief could have met you directly at your door.  That way rape or worse could be added to their list of accomplishments.

Fantasy?  No.  Simply type “internet” and “burglary” into Google and you’ll find a rich list of the way criminals are using the internet to enrich themselves — and rob or threaten you.

A short while I personally joined one of the many online local dating services — I’m sure you’ve heard of it — purely in order to find out whether here was indeed a potential for victimhood among my current clients, and how many people I could easily connect with.  Answer:  2,000!  Many of them were living alone, many of them with day or night jobs, some of them elderly, and nearly all of them ready to share personal information in hopes of finding that special someone.  Personal information that may be all a thief or worse needs to commit his or her crimes.

Not everyone is a criminal, of course.  And some dates work out very happily.  I don’t mean to discourage anyone from finding their perfect match, or even someone with whom you can spend an enjoyable evening.  But you should remember that some of those potential love mates are also potential predators, and also that there are ways to protect yourself.

What should alert you to possible predators?

  1. Asking About Money Or Property.  Internet predators will ask about your property to find out whether it’s worth robbing.  If they ask for your address, bells should go off.  But even a general mention of where you live may be enough for a criminal with a knack for internet research to work out your actual location.  There are reverse phone look-up services that can find your location as soon as your phone number is known.  Some online fraudsters don’t even need to meet you:  they may ask for money in other ways – airfare to come and visit you, an emergency situation, a “great great” investment opportunity.  If they ask for money — beware.
  2. As a rule, scammers and creditors are the ones that make contact first.  When you make contact, odds are that the person is legitimate.  When someone contacts you, they may be legitimate — but they may not.  Take more care.  Sometimes it’s better not to respond
  3. Fake pictures, fake profiles. Predators usually use photos of exceptionally attractive people, or post profiles that make you imagine that they have independent wealth or other exceptional qualities.  Even good people exaggerate, of course, but if they look too good to be true, they generally are.  If you think the picture or information is suspicious, trust your instincts.  (You can even search the information for similar photos using www.tineye.com — if the photo is fake or belongs to someone else, don’t date that person:  report them to the dating service.
  4. Predators want to know about you.  They avoid your queries about them. If you are getting a lot attention from someone but not getting many answers in return, take care.
  5. Inconsistencies.  If the information you’re getting doesn’t stay straight, it may be a lie.  Often online cheaters operate as a team:  you may be talking to different persons at different times.   So if you notice variations in style, language choice differences, ‘slips of tongue’ — be careful.
  6. Asking for another way to interact — fast.  Dating services aren’t fools:  they know that many of the people coming online are posting fake profiles, and that some of them have bad intentions.  They remove such people fast.  As a result, predators try to get you to interact using email or phone quickly, because they know that their profile will be deleted quickly.  (And also because the more information they have, the easier it is to find your address, too.)

It goes without saying that the best way to stay safe is to not give your address out, to meet in a public place until you are very sure that the person is legitimate, to do a little background research of your own, and above all to have a security system and monitoring at home.  Unless you give the person your entry codes — and they’re no reason whatever to ever do so — your home will be safe.  And so will you.

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The Wall Street Journal: High-Tech Security “Can Also Be Fun”

wallstreetjournal“You could dig a moat. Or you could protect your abode with these easy-to-install, tech-friendly security systems,” says the Wall Street Journal in a recent article, adding “If you’re concerned about home security, putting bars on your windows and a “Beware of Dog” sign in the yard goes a long way. But the latest in high-tech security toys (or tools, if you prefer) also have a lot to offer. They’re easy to install, a cinch to operate and, like all good gadgets these days, can be controlled from Internet-connected smartphones. Best of all, when your estate (or studio apartment) is not under siege, they can also be a lot of fun to use.”

When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.  When the Wall Street Journal, E.F. Hutton listens.  Maybe home security systems buyers should listen too.

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Protecting Your Home On Vacation

Summer’s here!  That means that at home point you won’t be.  You’ll be travelling.  But will your home be safe?  Here’s ten tips from Don to make sure the home you come back to is a safe and happy one:

1.  Use light switch timers.  Leave a radio on, tuned to a talk show — in fact, you can even buy burglar-stopping CD recordings.  You want to be sure it looks you’re home while you’re away. Light and the sound of conversation may make burglars think twice.

2. Leave shades and blinds the way you normally do.

3. Have a neighbor pick up your mail, newspapers and magazines while you’re on vacation. Otherwise cancel all deliveries. Your post office will gladly hold your mail.

4. Get a time controller to light up the porch and yard intermittently.

5. Keep your lawns mowed and hedges clipped on schedule.  You can always pay by check or credit card.

6. Latch the windows. Yes, ordinary windows are easily broken into and won’t stop a professional burglar, but safety latches on the windows may keep amateurs or youngsters from trying anything.

7. Double-check everything before you go, and double-check it using a checklist.

8. Form a neighborhood crime watch.  Your local police department is sure to help. Not only will it keep your entire neighborhood safe, you may find yourself making a whole new group of friends.

9. Don’t tell people you’re going.  Professional criminals like nothing better than Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media web sites that let them know you’re not there.  Don’t help.  Also, don’t hesitate to ask others you know (and trust) not to spill the beans online.  A friend bidding you a bon voyage on Facebook may end up with you saying bon voyage to your valuables.

10. Last of all — and best of all — invest in a good alarm system. I know: we sell them, so I guess you were expecting that.  But it’s still true.  With the right system, not only will your home be safer from burglars, but from fire, pipes cracking, weather damage, and more.  If a crook breaks you, you can watch it on your smartphone — and so can the police, as they’re on their way.

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Why People Invest In A Home Security System

  • Their house has been broken into.
  • Their neighbors’, friends’ or relatives’ houses have been broken into. Now they are worried it can happen to them.
  • They don’t want to be broken into.
  • The house is empty and no one is home. They work all day
  • The house is vacant and up for sale, and the owners don’t want vandalism or occupancy by drug dealers
  • The family goes on vacation a lot and is worried about their home and possessions when away.
  • The husband goes on hunting, fishing, trips, or business trips and often leaves his wife home alone.
  • The home or apartment owners lost their house or car keys or had them stolen.
  • They’ve lost their credit card, purse, or wallet, or had them stolen.
  • They’ve lost their wallet, briefcase, or backpack, or luggage, or had them stolen.
  • Their spouse works late. They’re home alone and are scared.
  • They live in a bad neighborhood.
  • Their health is poor and they have medical alarm monitoring in place.  They feel safer carrying a wireless 24 hour panic button or medical alarm.
  • They leave pets home alone  and worry that someone might break in, beat, and hurt or even kill their pets.  We have a little Yorkshire terrier, Buddy, and love him very much. I would hate to see that happened to my dog.
  • They have valuables that are hard or impossible to replace — for example, coin collections, stamp collections, rare books, guns, art, antiques, family heirlooms.
  • To protect their children from physical — and psychological — harm.  (Burglaries are very hard on children sometimes.)
  • To protect valuable personal items such as computers, laptops, big screen HDTVs, video games, iPods, iPads, CDs, DVD players, jewelry, and diaries and other personal things.
  • They’ve had a fire in their own home, or there was one in the neighborhood, and they know an alarm could have stopped it early.
  • They’ve experienced a flooded basement because of a hot water tank or broken washer hose connections or some pump not working, and they know an alarm could have warned them and stopped it early.
  • They just found out from the Police Department that a new sex offender is in the area, or that a new gang of drug dealers are active locally.
  • They just got divorced and their spouse threatens them or breaks in or comes in unannounced.
  • They can’t sleep and they hear lot of strange noises and wondering if it’s the wind or somebody trying to break in.
  • They know having a security system can and nearly always does lower your insurance rate.
  • The neighbors have one, and some think it’s a prestigious move.
  • They have summer homes that need protection at other times of the year, or leave their usual home during winter and or don’t want to impose on anyone to check their home.
  • To ensure that, when they’re absent, caretakers of the house are looking after things regularly.  Some of our systems will tell you the date and time a neighbor or friend entered your house to check on your plants, pets, water or heat.
  • They want or need things monitored. We can monitor just about anything you can put a switch on or a sensor on.
  • If they have young children home alone, they can have panic and disturbance buttons for children to contact them if need by.  (And they can monitor the home to keep wild parties from happening in the case of older children.)

Is that all?

Isn’t it enough?

No matter who you are, one of those descriptions above describes you.  You need a home security system too.

Get one.  Call Our Alarm Guy, Donald T. Noga, at 585-342-4480.

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A Home Break-In Every 14 Seconds

It’s no fun to feel violated.

In the security systems business, you meet a lot of people who’ve been robbed. It’s not a good experience, and what follows it isn’t good either. A family’s children may now be afraid to sleep at night, or feel the pain of maybe having had their toys stolen or broken. Family pets could be lost or hurt. Valuable electronics and furniture or jewelry that you’ve worked long and hard hours to buy has been taken or trashed. Stolen credit cards, passwords, tax records or personal information could lead to literally years of difficulties because of identity theft.

Whatever the injury, the common reaction is to feel violated, knowing a stranger has been rifling through their most personal and private possessions. Many say they don’t even want to live in the same place any more.

Don’t let it get to this point! Sure, it’s tempting to believe that your street is safe, that you haven’t “heard” about any burglaries or worse in the neighborhood, that there isn’t anything particularly unique about your house that would attract a thief. These sound like very good reasons to do nothing — even though “something” has happened time and time again in many such cases.

This false security runs pretty wide. If a member of the household is in law enforcement, residents may believe no one would dare to break in. Sorry. Thieves do break in. Some feel secure from crime because they live in a Neighborhood Watch area. Sorry. Thieves rob homes in Neighborhood Watch areas too. Some home owners buy and imagine they’re prepared to face a burglar – but this has had mixed — and sometimes even fatal — results for the people who have tried it; even assuming you are home when your house is broken into.

Statistically there is a break-in every 14 seconds in the United States.

1 in every 4 homes is broken into at least once!

So say facts released from local police departments, County Sheriff departments, and on a nationwide level from the FBI.

Isn’t it vastly preferable to have a system that alerts these authorities to a break in, than to endanger yourself or your family?

Strangely enough, some people even try to reason that the insurance savings don’t justify the cost of the security system. They say that it makes economic sense to be robbed! Well, does it make economic sense to be raped, molested or killed? Simply having insurance won’t protect the physical safety of you or your loved ones, and it can’t replace the irreplaceable.

A security system can. It can prevent the loss of possessions from ever taking place, and more importantly it safeguards all of the members of the household.

The price people pay for internet, or cell phones, or cable is often greater than the entire cost of one of our security systems. It’s ridiculous that that someone would rather pay for extra text messages and movie channels than protect their home, possessions and family.

Can you save money on a good security system. Yes, you can. But the reason to buy a good security system is that you can save much, much more than just your money.

Find out more, about affordable security system and monitoring prices, and about what a good security system can do for you. Call Our Alarm Guy, Donald T. Noga, at 585-342-4480.

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Everyone Needs A Security System

There are many why people need an in-home security system. Sadly, many don’t even consider the reasons until they or someone they know have had their homes broken into.

Often people aren’t worried about the possible dangers because they’re unaware of it. There are countless reasons why your home may be left empty, even for only an hour – but an hour is all a criminal needs to violate your privacy, steal any number of your most prized possessions, and molest or even murder your loved ones.

Many homeowners spend long hours at work. A husband may be planning a hunting or business trip, and leave his wife behind at home alone. Many have jobs that take them out of town for long periods of time. Military families spend months at a time apart. Working spouses may have night shifts, or be obliged to stay late at work. Every absence is an opportunity — a deadly opportunity — for a thief or criminal.

Many situations that require added measures of safety. Living in a bad neighborhood will always be near the top of the list. Being the subject of abuse or unwanted attention is very common. Some people own irreplaceable possessions of high monetary or sentimental value. The home in question may be a summer home, or a rental property.

It isn’t even crime alone that’s the danger. No one wants their home to be flooded, or have a fire. Security systems can warn you of these threats even from many miles away, and protect your home from the human predators that may violate your space in the wake of these incidents. After all, these are the moments when your home is at its most vulnerable.

Can pets help keep your home secure? That’s the wrong question. The right question is, what can you do to keep your pets secure? Pets, in fact, are a huge motivator for acquiring a security system. Pets are known to be at risk during a break in; a burglar can become an assailant, using mace, poison, or force to subdue an animal – even to kill it. Or their pets can simply escape out of an opened door or broken window, putting them at the further risk of being hit by a car or getting lost or stolen.

Our most expensive security system to date was purchased for the safety of a dog! A woman had lost her daughter due to a car accident, and her daughter’s dog was all she had left. She lived in a neighborhood known for burglaries where dogs were beaten severely, even to death.

She wanted the assurance that she would not lose one of the few connections to her daughter’s memory that she had left, and despite our fervent insistence that she was buying much more than she needed, she insisted on purchasing a $5,000 system. In her mind it was worth every penny.

Some people are concerned about stalkers. Many people in hostile divorce situations find themselves concerned that their spouse will attempt a break-in. Others want to protect their home from registered sex offenders in their area. Some live in neighborhoods where organized crime takes place.

Whatever the reason, virtually everyone has strong, compelling legitimate grounds for installing a security system. Unfortunately they only realize it too late. Only after their home has been burglarized do the victims see why safety must always come first.

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Straight Answers

Why don’t some people buy home security systems?  What reasons do they give?  Are they good reasons?  Or not?

Here’s what we sometimes hear, and what we say:

“We live in the best neighborhood.”

People in the best neighborhoods get robbed.

“I didn’t know home security systems could monitor fires breaking out, or water damage.”

They can.

“We have one of the best police and fire departments in our area.”

That’s great.  But who is letting them know that your house is being robbed? A home security system is needed to send that message to those people — immediately!

“It’s expensive!  We really can’t afford it.”

Most people nowadays manage to afford cable, broadband Internet, cell phones, text messaging, long-distance regular phone service, $4 a gallon gas prices, car payments, mortgage payments, credit card payments, and much, much more.  Our systems cost much less — sometimes literally thousands of dollars less — than any of the above.

If you can text, you can afford a home security system.

“It’s hard to use.”

It can be as simple as pressing 1-2-3 on your telephone.  Believe me, if you can program a microwave or a record a TV show, you can set a home security system.

“I don’t want to waste my time with false alarms.”

Good modern home security systems are just about fool-proof.  Most false alarms occur because of the client’s lack of training. Or because they don’t show a friend or relative how to use it properly when the system owners are away.  Less than 2% of false alarms are due to equipment failure — most of the cases we see are just someone forgetting to close the door tightly, and letting the wind accidentally blow it open.

With a little instruction, false alarms turn out to be rare to nonexistent.

And we don’t leave a home or business until they get that instruction, and are confident in using the system.

“I don’t really have any valuables or high-ticket items worth protecting.”

Some people really don’t think they have any thing to lose. They forget that you can lose more than property — you can lose pets, family members, and even your life.

“I have a pistol or rifle permit.  I can take care of things myself.”

What if a burglar breaks in when you’re not at home?

And what if they break in when you are at home, and you don’t realize it till they’ve reached your gun first?

What if you shoot and kill or injure the burglar, and the burglar or their surviving family sues you for the use of excessive force?

What if your child gets his hand on it?

We don’t necessarily oppose having a firearm in the house — after all, some cities require that any such weapon requires a security system in your home to ensure both homeowner safety, and also to help ensure that burglars don’t steal the firearm and sell or use them.

But, bottom line?  Guns don’t keep homes safe.  Home security systems do.

“I have a dog.”

Will your dog call the police or fire department when anything happens?

“All my neighbors are retired and are constantly looking out for my home.  We have a Neighborhood Watch program in place.”

But are they really watching out for your place 24 hours a day?  It’s great to have a neighborhood watch and good neighbors, but, in our experience, I’ve found that many times when an alarm siren activates, no one pays attention to it. Most people think it’s a false alarm.

When was the last time you heard a car alarm, or an alarm by a home or a place of business, or even a bank.  What did you do?  Immediately take out your cell and call 911?  In most cases, most people do nothing.

“My husband, or wife, or next door neighbor works for the police department.”

You may know that your spouse or neighbor is a police officer.  Burglars don’t necessarily know that.  Some burglars don’t care — they may be mentally ill; many are on drugs; smarter, professional burglars may think that police officers can be called away for long late night hours, and that that will leave their homes more vulnerable.  Some police officials make enemies of criminals, who want to get even.

I work in security, and I like and respect police officers, and have security systems in many of their homes.  But if I were a police officer, I would be especially worried about my family and loved ones.  And if I knew, or lived near, a police officer, I wouldn’t draw the conclusion that nothing could ever happen to me, or to my home.  I’d ask that officer’s advice on whether I should get a home security system or not.  And I’d bet the answer would be yes.

“I’m insured.”

Insurance is good.  But insurance can’t restore you to life, or take away memories of rape or molestation, or return irreplaceable possessions, or stop the ongoing problems stemming from identity theft.

And — so long as we’re on the topic of insurance — you might just possibly pay less for your insurance, if you had a home security system protecting you.

These are some of the things I say to people when they ask me about home security systems.  You may want to talk to me in person or on the phone about other home security questions of your own.  Please do.

I’m Donald T. Noga, and you can reach me at 585-342-4480.

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Keep Your Mobile Phone Secure

A lost cell phone may contain personal information you may not want to see in the hands of strangers, much less mobile phone thieves. Even mobile phones that aren’t stolen can be a danger, since today’s mobile phones are essentially mini-computers, and as such are susceptible to viruses and hackers.

Those who use mobile phones for security may worry that losing a mobile phone means strangers can now watch — or even disarm and enter — one’s home or business with impunity.

But that’s not the case. Particularly if you remember the following simple security tips:

Lock Your Mobile Phone With A Password

A password won’t keep a phone from being lost or stolen, but all it takes is a password to keep the personal information in your phone secure in nearly all cases. (Some high-tech phones even use retinal or fingerprint logins.)

When using security services, there’s generally a second password as well, and as a rule brand name phone and security companies use military-level encryption to keep the password from being “hacked”. So take comfort. If the Taliban can’t break in, a local phone thief isn’t likely to.

Don’t Give Out Your Password

This should be obvious, but we all occasionally loan our phones to spouses or to our children to make a call. If so, open the phone yourself and then give it to them. Don’t give your password out. The more people know, even good and trustworthy people, the more likely someone will let it slip. Don’t say it out loud or write it down for others. Notes can pass through several hands, and if you hand your phone to a trusted friend over a coffee at Starbucks and casually mention the number, the person behind you may be listening — and may not be a trusted friend.

Download With Discretion

Mobile phone users nowadays can download email, pictures ring tones, screen savers, mp3s and even whole programs onto their mobile phone. That means that they’re downloading viruses too. Viruses are trying to break in all the time, so stay on top of your phone’s anti-virus software. Update it often, possible and scan your computer for viruses before connecting your phone regularly. Make it a frequent routine and you won’t be sorry.

Keep It Legal

Illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing is a part of life nowadays, but it’s still illegal and such downloads aren’t always what they seem. What you download into your computer could be laced with viruses that destroy your phone at best, and steal credit card and other important personal information at worst.

If you must access questionable sites, do it from one dedicated computer, and make sure it contains no important personal data, and also make sure it is never your mobile phone. Even better is to only download from legal sites. They may cost more money, but they cost far less losing your mobile phone to a virus, experiencing identity theft, or even facing criminal charges for illegal downloads.

Don’t Store Personal Information On Your Phone

If your mobile phone is lost or stolen, personal information that hasn’t been password-protected may be accessible to whoever has it.

But even if the information is not your phone, but only only on your server, there may be danger. Some mobile phone or cell phone providers store all the phone information they can on a main server. This can includes pictures, voice mails, personal information, pictures and more. Providers have had servers hacked in the past. But hackers can’t steal data that isn’t there. Keep your critical personal information off the phone and off the server.

Log Off

Staying signed in to an email or bank account can save time and keep you from having to remember usernames and passwords. But it also makes it easy for thieves who casually grab your phone to immediately access your most sensitive accounts. Close your accounts, particularly if you step away from your mobile phone even for a moment.

Use Mobile Phones With Care — But Use Them

Careless mobile phone use can lead to compromised security. But not using it can compromise your safety even more. Nothing could be more of a mistake than to think that the safest way to avoid mobile phone crime is not to have one. That would take away your ability to watch your home, family or business 24/7, to be instantly alerted when break-ins or fires or medical problems arise, to make use of technologies that could mean the difference between life and death.

Using a mobile phone can greatly improve your lifestyle and your security, if you use it wisely. Let us help you use it with the care you deserve.

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