Reward Point Fraud

Friday, July 24th, 2020
photo by CafeCredit

Credit card fraud is something we all know about, but what about rewards point fraud? Recently we have seen an uptick in reports of people losing their credit card rewards points. So what does that mean exactly? There have been reports of people losing their air miles, hotel rewards, and other rewards and loyalty points. 

Rewards points are ideal for hackers or thieves because they are easy to use and most people pay less attention to rewards points then they do with their money. If someone can get a hold of your credit card they can save it on Amazon and see how many rewards points you have. They can then use your rewards points without raising too many red flags. Most people are alerted of suspicious activity on their cards but rewards points are much harder for busy people to keep track of. 

One of our clients, a Hillsboro, Oregon resident, was a recent victim of reward point theft. After a trip to Eastern Oregon in May, their reward points were cashed out to buy gift cards. Thankfully, their credit card company refunded them after they noticed the fraud but to avoid the hassle and headache of fraud here are some things we can do to protect yourself from these hackers:

Use Stronger Passwords– We all know it is easier to use the same passwords so you can remember it across the board but it’s important to make sure you use strong passwords to protect important information, especially your banking information. 

Check Your Accounts Often– Monitor your rewards points often and write down the number of loyalty points you have somewhere secure so you always know what you had last time you checked. Put a reminder in your calendar or add it to the list of tasks while paying bills to remind you to check your points and if you see something wrong you can report it right away.

Be Careful With Your Loyalty or Rewards Number– When you book a flight or check in to a hotel using your points they often have your rewards account number on documents associated with that trip. Make sure to not leave those documents lying around or easily accessible. If you don’t need them anymore shredding those documents is the safest way to make sure they don’t get into the wrong hands. 

Keep Your Credit Cards Secure– We have heard numerous reports about people who have gotten their information stolen by simply giving their credit card to someone who then took it out of their sight. It only takes a few seconds to write down a credit card number and it can lead to so many problems for you. So make sure you are being careful with your credit card and pay attention if someone takes it where you cannot see them. 

Use Extra Protection– With the world we live in now, there are added protections like two-factor authentication, security questions, and more to help keep our accounts safe. Yes, they may take a little longer to login but sometimes it is “better safe than sorry”. 

You work hard for your rewards points and now is a great time to pay more attention and keep them protected. We firmly believe that life should be a balance of work hard and enjoying yourself. You can afford to travel the world if you use your rewards points to help, so keep those points safe!

Crime Rates Increase Dramatically this Month in Tigard

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Tigard law enforcement has stated that in the first half of April burglaries increased by 60% from this time last year. Most of these burglaries are happening at commercial businesses and construction job sites. With the quarantine and social distancing, many businesses are temporarily closed or staffed much less than normal. Streets are also less busy with fewer people around giving burglars more opportunities to strike. 

We want to make sure our community stays safe during this time. We have many economical options to help your home or business stay safe during these difficult times. We can customize a security plan for your specific needs. Give us a call today! 

Fire Watch

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

Security First Alarm is now offering Fire Watch to all our commercial customers. 

Firewatch is an essential part of many businesses and part of keeping staff and facilities safe. Our fire watch guards watch over an area where hot work is taking place, where a fire alarm or sprinkler system is not working properly or down, or in the wake of a natural disaster that caused a power outage. They act as an extra safety measure to keep valuable capital, infrastructure, and any people on the premise out of harm’s way due to an unforeseen fire. Many times fire watch is needed overnight or on weekends, luckily, Security First Alarm answers our phones 24/7 and can help with your fire watch needs. 

The following are some Firewatch services offered:

  • Avoid Fines from the Fire Marshal
  • Avoid Business & Facility Shutdown
  • Hot Work Construction Site Watch
  • School Campus Oversight
  • Movie Sets & Entertainment Venues
  • Hotels & Commercial Establishments
  • Fire guards for nightclubs
  • 24 Hour Service Availability in Oregon and Washington
  • Emergency Service Available
  • Periodic Premise Patrols

Call Security First Alarm today for all your Firewatch needs! 503-296-9100

Burglaries on the Rise

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Burglaries have increased and some neighborhoods have had the number of burglaries go up by more than 50% between 2016 and 2017. In Portland in 2016, there were 3,899 reported cases and 4,354 in 2017. But, the workload for the detectives working on the cases has grown as well. “We have seen an increase in the number of burglaries,” said Sgt. Chris Burley, a spokesperson for the police bureau. “At the same time our burglary task force, our detectives specifically assigned investigating these burglaries, has remained the same size or declined over the past few years.” Additionally, Lt. Ric Deland, a member of the police bureau’s detective division, says the number of burglary detectives has been cut in half since 2009. Now, he says, there are just six detectives working burglary cases. He says they are swamped and cannot tackle every case as it comes in.

This means that cases take longer to be solved especially if there isn’t evidence to help them prove who was behind the burglary. Although there are many things you can do to help prevent burglaries such as lighting, locking doors, having a neighborhood watch, etc., nothing will be better than having a security system. A security system will give the detectives concrete evidence that proves who broke into your home and will give you a better chance of getting the items that were stolen back.

If you don’t have a security system, we can help you. Our representatives will be able to help you choose a system that works for your needs and budget and will give you peace of mind.

‘Tis The Season

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Happy Holidays! It’s the most wonderful time of year where families come together and make memories. People do their holiday shopping and get items shipped to their homes. Unfortunately, porch pirates are aware of the influx of deliveries surrounding this time as well. For them, it is also the most wonderful time of year– at your expense.

However, if you have a security system, your home will be safer. If a porch pirate still happens to steal from you, your security system will capture a video feed of the culprit in action, allowing the police to have the evidence they need. In addition, if you have Total Connect you’ll be able to unlock your doors while your away allowing the delivery person to set your package in your home, watch them while they are inside with the 24/7 video feed, and re-lock your door when they leave. Protect your home and your presents this holiday with a security system. If you don’t have one, give us a call and we can help you find a security system that fulfills your needs without surpassing your budget.

Additional Benefits of a Security System

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Getting a security system installed in your home protects your house from potential burglaries and puts you in a much better place to find the burglar if your home still happens to be robbed. But, what else can a security system do for you? Nowadays, security systems have grown and developed to help make your life easier in many ways. Here are just a few:

 

  1. Protect your home from fires.

Did you know that every 20 seconds a home fire is reported? Fires are just as prevalent and dangerous as home break-ins. Many security systems, such as Honeywell’s Vista 128FBP, are able to monitor your home for fires as well.

  1. Make your home more efficient.

Security systems, like the Lynx Touch 7000, integrate almost every function of your house such as lighting, locks, thermostats, and even water valves to your security system. You’ll be able to access your home’s features while you are away to change the temperature while your away to save on heating/cooling costs, turn off a light you forgot you left on, or lock the door that you missed as you rushed out the door for work. Convenience is at your fingertips.

  1. Lower home insurance premiums.

When you own a home, you’ll want home insurance. The cost of home insurance will vary based on location, coverage, insurance company, type of home, etc., but most insurance companies will give a large discount to homeowners with a security system installed.

  1. Protect you from carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases.

Equip your security system with a carbon monoxide detector which will alert your family of dangerous levels and allow you to leave the house and get medical help, if needed, before it’s too late.

  1. Keep watch of your home while away.

Whether you are at work, away on vacation, or just wanting to check on your kids and the babysitter, you can! Your security system and cameras can be accessed from an app on your device that will allow you to see what is happening at home while you’re away.

  1. Automate your home.

Since your home’s features and functions (lights, garage door, locks, etc.) can be integrated into your system, automate your home with a schedule. You can set the air conditioning to cool down before you get home, your garage door to open as you come down the street, and many other functions that will make your life easier.

  1. Achieve peace of mind.

One of the greatest things a security system can do for you is put your fears to rest and allow you peace of mind. With 24/7 monitoring and many other useful features, your security system will help you know that your home and family are safe. And being confident that your home is safe and not needing to worry anymore, is priceless.

Tips for a Safer Home

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

“In 2017, there were over 4,000 burglaries in Portland, an 11 percent increase from the year before. Of those, 1,600, or 37 percent, were burglaries in residential areas. That’s over four burglaries a day in residential areas and 10 a day in all areas of the city.” Here are some maps that show burglaries in residential areas in 2017 in the Portland, Oregon area.

Burglaries happen. Here are some ways you can protect your home and family from burglaries.

  1. If you work during the day, be sure to lock all of your doors and windows. Also, don’t leave a car on the driveway that has a garage door opener on the inside.

  2. If you are home, open your windows so a potential burglar would be able to see that there is someone home and walking around. If you normally do this, leave your blinds open while you are gone running errands. You don’t want to make anything look of of the ordinary.

  3. Hide your spare key in a better place than around your door or under your doormat. If you really want to see if it is hard to find, have one of your neighbors or friends try to find it.

  4. Some robberies happen at night, so increase the amount of lighting outside. Burglars want to be able to hide behind bushes and in dark areas so they can remain unseen. If they can’t be in darkness, it is more likely they will skip over your home.

  5. If you are planning on going on vacation, don’t post your plans or updates on social media until after you are home. If you want more tips on extra precautions you can take while you are on vacation, check out this blog post.

While these are all great practices, they still may not stop a robbery. Having a security system installed on your home could, however. When asked, 83% of burglars said they specifically checked to see if the house was armed with a security system and 60% said they would change their mind if there was. People have also found that putting the home security sign on your lawn can deter robbers. Additionally, on the off chance that a robber does not notice you have a security system and your house is broken into, police will have a much easier time catching the suspect and will have hard evidence to use against them in court.

How a Security System Helps The Police 

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Did you know that 9 out of 10 burglaries go unsolved? That is a staggering number considering a burglary takes place in the United States every 18 seconds. This means in just one hour there will be 200 burglaries and only 20 of those burglaries will be solved. Why do so many go unsolved? Protect America says “Many burglaries remain open cases because there is simple a lack of evidence to draw from.” So how does a security system help the police do their jobs?

 

  1. Caught in the Act

Security systems have improved over the years and there are many security systems that you can access from your phone. Many security systems will also alert you if there is movement around you house and you can notify the police if you do not recognize the person. This new technology allows policemen the chance to catch criminals in the act and will make solving the case exponentially easier.

  1. Clues and Evidence

Even if the police are not able to arrive to the scene while the burglar is still there, the security camera footage gives policemen an advantage. Many burglaries go unsolved because of lack of evidence. However, with a recorded video feed police will have a better idea of who they are looking for. Even if the criminal’s face is concealed, they can narrow down suspects by knowing the gender, height, weight, general build etc., which can help them find the burglar.

  1. News Travels Fast

News travels fast and in this case, it’s a good thing. If criminals are aware that a house has a security system and they are more likely to be caught, they won’t risk it. 83% of criminals look to see if there is a security system and if there is, they won’t break into the home. Having security systems on multiple houses will deter a burglar  and they will move onto a neighborhood that is easier to target where they are less likely to be caught.

Is Paying for a Security System Cost Effective?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

We all have budgets we want to stick to and things that we are saving for or wanting to purchase for ourselves. So, you may be wondering if a security alarm is really worth it or if you are just wasting your money. By weighing out your options, you’ll find that having a security system is beneficial while also being cost effective.

Having a security system is like having insurance. It is something that protects you from things that go wrong in life and will help you when something bad happens. According to safewise.com, “The average dollar loss per burglary increased from $2,120 in 2011 to $2,316 in 2015. Most home security systems don’t cost nearly this much, and they can prevent a burglary from occurring in the first place.” Not to mention, most home insurance companies give a discount for having a home security system.

Burglars often avoid houses with security systems as well, so just having one that is visible deters your house from being targeted. Cities are also known to have the highest crime rates in the country. This is even more true of large cities, such as Portland. Living in a big city where your chances of being burglarized is higher, makes the need for a security system even stronger.

At Security First Alarm, we won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. We have many different options to choose from and so you will be able to find a security system that meets your needs and is affordable. The added security and safety you’ll feel will be priceless but a security system will also protect you from losing money in burglaries.

 

Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 VISTA Partitions Release

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Coming soon is the Honeywell Total Connect VISTA partitions release.  The release will take place in segments during the entire month of June.

The Vista partition support offers remote control of security for up to eight VISTA partitions from a PC or mobile device.

End Users Activating a Partition Account
End users that have VISTA accounts programmed for partitions will see a pop up on the Honeywell Total Connect website or app that reads “Enable Partitions- Partitions for your location are now available. Please complete the configuration of your partitions to activate multi-partition control.” As a user you  will have the option to “Configure Now” or “Later.”  In order to use Honeywell Total Connect VISTA Partitions, you will have to activate the account by selecting “Configure Now”.

Partitions Features Include:

  • Remotely control security for up to 8 VISTA partitions
  • Real-time partition control
  • Globally arm, disarm, bypass/open sensors
  • View and clear alarms
  • View events by partition
  • Support for a common partition, e.g., lobby
  • Creation of a universal fire partition
    • View fire status and receive notifications only
    • Not evaluated by UL or ULC, and not compatible with fire communicators
  • Manage users – partition access and authority levels

We are looking forward to this new addition to the Total Connect family! Give us a call to learn more today! (503)296-9100