I need you to sit up and take notice.

We are NOT alone.  And I’m not talkin’ Aliens.

Did you know that by giving out your address (which, by-the-way is on your drivers license and usually your checks among other things), or being overheard giving it out while talking on your cell phone, at a customer service desk, post office, dry cleaners,– any where you give an address, someone can use this information to your determent?

The 'bad guy' can take this information and 'plug' it in to the many internet tools available today and actually 'scopes out' your house or place of residence!

By using any number of the internet tools such as Google Earth, Google Street Maps (street views), Microsoft's Bing.com's "Bird's Eye View" (which uses aerial photographs shot from low-flying airplanes, not satellites), and even with FEMA flood maps,  Microsoft TerraServer, the bad guy is able to view your home from the top, sides and even your backyard!  And that of your neighbors as well!

If your car was parked at your home at the time the photos were shot, the bad guy will have this information as well and know what kind of vehicle you drive.

What this means to you is simply this; you have got to be even more diligent in protecting yourself from harm. Why?  Because with all of the technology, our privacy and security considerations have now been thrown out the window so to speak. 

A bad guy could use the street view of your residence to case your home and the proximity of neighboring houses for a fast get away.  Or look for cars that are parked in garages or driveways worth stealing. Or, even scan your yard and windows of your home for a few potential access points (like open windows) for breaking in or, for any indication that a home has a security system.

So how can you protect yourself?   I would suggest you going to some of these sites and “see” what the bad guys are looking at when using your address with some of these tools. Look around.  All around.  Do you have things “leaning” up against the house (a ladder, trash cans, rakes – that could be used smash windows), that would make great access points into your home?  Do you have a dog?  Does it stay in the backyard during the day?  Perhaps you may want to consider moving the doghouse closer to the entrance gate in the backyard opposed to it being stuck in a far off corner (bad guys hate dogs).  Do you leave windows open in the back during the day?  Do you have “dark” areas such as shrubbery and/or trees around your yard where someone could easily hide and enter you home without being detected?   These are just a few things that bad guys will look at when “scoping” a home. I’m not a bad guy so I don’t have a mind set to think of anything else – but I’m sure you could come up with some of your own by looking around.

You need to be mindful when you give your address to someone.  Consider anyone around you and/or in line with you to be a bad guy (yes I’m afraid even the lady you were talking to in-line may be a bad guy).  If need be write/type your address and personal information on a card.  When someone “who needs to know’ asks for your address, you can give them the card and then ask for it back.  It’s not fool proof system but at least it will avoid having to verbally announce to the world your address and personal information.

Scary stuff, huh?

- Survivor Jane

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