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According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 16.6 million people experienced identity theft in 2012. Meanwhile the Insurance Information Institute warns that burglars see vacations as an opportunity to break into empty homes. Going off the grid on a wilderness hike or camping trip should be a relaxing experience, but leaving yourself vulnerable to crime and an emergency can derail your vacation before it even gets started. Fortunately, taking some precautions can pave the way for a stress-free vacation.   Home Security Leaving your home empty can be unsettling without proper security in place. Arm your house with a reputable home security company like ADT. Tell the company about your plans, and give the dates and emergency contact information for a family member in case there’s an issue at your house. Ask a neighbor to pick up flyers and newspapers from your driveway and temporarily stop your mail with the Post Office. Invest in a timer to turn lights on and off throughout your house to give the impression that someone’s home. If you’re still feeling vulnerable about leaving your home empty, arrange for a house sitter or friend to crash there while you’re gone.   Financial Monitoring Don’t get...
Headed out of town this summer on a fabulous extended vacation? While planning for a short trip is pretty easy, preparing for a weeks-long odyssey requires organizational skills and pre-planning that would make Martha Stewart jealous. Don’t worry, we’re here to help:   Secure Your Home To prevent your place from looking empty, stop your newspaper and mail delivery and put at least one light on a timer. Hire a local teen to mow your lawn while you are away, and pay him or her to walk or drive by your house every other day and remove fliers from your front door. Before you leave, put your water heater in vacation mode, turn off the water to your toilets, dishwasher, washing machine and sinks, and turn up your thermostat to 85 degrees. Leave your cell phone number with a trusted neighbor, and install fresh batteries in your smoke detector. And clean out your fridge and pantry prior to leaving and toss any bread, milk or other food that will go bad while you are away — no one wants to return home to a nasty science experiment in their cupboards.   Prepare Your Paperwork If you are traveling internationally, you...

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