If you have children, a career and a busy life, you’re bound to need a little help. This help could come in the form of babysitters, dog walkers, a cleaning staff and more. If you’re someone who likes to host a lot, then you also have friends stopping by for dinner parties and barbecues. When you think about it, your home probably sees a lot of foot traffic. You know most people who come over pretty well, but what about your friend’s date that they brought to your dinner party? What about the replacement your babysitter sent when she couldn’t make it? Without realizing it, we let strangers into our home and near our personal items—items they could steal, hack our accounts with, or use against us in any number of ways.
Keep this from happening by hiding your most personal items anytime you suspect you may have some visitors.
1. Garage Door Opener
Since you likely have multiple garage door openers, you may not notice if one goes missing. We often don’t think of garage door openers as being very valuable, so we leave them out without giving them much thought. But your garage might house things like televisions, bicycles and—of course—your cars, expensive items that could make a burglary worth it. Someone can do quite a bit of damage if they get into your garage.
2. Travel Itineraries
If your travel agent recently sent you an itinerary for an upcoming trip, or you’ve printed out airline tickets or hotel reservations, tuck these away. These clearly lay out the dates you won’t be at home, leaving your property vulnerable to burglary.
3. Your Calendar
We typically have our calendars stuck on the refrigerator door or open on a desk. But you shouldn’t let anyone you don’t know familiarize themselves with your habits and schedule. Someone can easily see that you’re expecting a contractor over at a given time, and show up posing as that contractor to rob your home.
4. Security Codes
You may have your security passcode written on a post-it note and stuck on your laptop or the refrigerator door. Remember to hide these notes before guests come over. You should also be careful not to punch in the code while anyone you don’t know very well is watching.
5. Property Titles
Do not leave property titles for your home, your vehicles or any other owned property out. If someone got their hands on your car title, they could easily fill it out to make it look like you sold it to them. Proving this as faulty in court is a headache and can cost you quite a bit in legal fees.
6. Credit Card Statements
Credit card statements can contain all of the information someone would need to call your credit card company and ask for a massive cash advance. At the very least, they could write down your credit card information and start making purchases online.
7. Medical Bills
Medical bills can contain things like your account number or your social security number. They’ll also contain personal information, such as conditions for which you’re being treated. If somebody obtained this information, they could call you and commit insurance fraud. They would know enough to pose as your insurance company, and get you to hand over money or other private information.
8. Spare Keys
People who frequent your home, like babysitters and cleaning staff, can swipe a spare key, go have copies made, and return it the next time they come over. You may not suspect a thing—until your home is burglarized.
9. Phone Numbers
Thorough con artists can use obtained information, such as your medical history and travel plans, and call one of your family members posing as a doctor, someone reporting an emergency from your hotel, or anyone else who might need information. When your family is worried about you, they could hand over a lot of personal details. Tuck away any documents that may contain phone numbers and addresses of family members.
How well do you really know the people who enter your home? If you cannot say you’d trust them with your children or a large sum of money, then you should be careful about what you leave out when they come over.