Staying Safe

Tips printed on this page were compiled by the National Crime Prevention Council.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Summer Grilling Safety Recipe
by
http://www.safetyathome.com

Did you know that Americans prepare about 3 BILLION meals on grills, each year? From 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Five out of six home grill fires involve a gas grill and the leading contributing factor was a leak or break in hoses or other equipment. That’s why UL, a global independent safety science company, is sharing simple, yet critical, guidelines to help prevent potential summer tragedies:

PREPARE FOR SAFETY FIRST

  • Position your grill a safe distance from your house or any building (if possible).
  • Never use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under an awning or overhang that might catch fire.
  • Always have a spray bottle and a fire extinguisher handy

 GAS GRILLS

  • Check the hoses on your gas grill for any cracking and brittleness, to address potential leaks
  • Drip soapy water over the hoses and around the fittings. Any bubbles forming means there is a propane leak
  • Never start a gas grill with the lid closed

 CHARCOAL GRILLS

  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Both can cause an explosion.
  • Dispose of charcoal away from kids and pets, and cool it down with a hose. Coals get HOT – up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Have a designated area for dumping hot coals and cool down with a hose.

 SAFETY WHILE COOKING

  • Never leave the grill unattended, especially when young children or pets are nearby.
  • Never attempt to restart a fire by adding additional lighting fluid to an already-lit grill, as this can cause a flare-up.
  • Keep kids, pets and bare hands away from the grill.
  • Use insulated, flame retardant mitts and long-handled barbeque tongs and utensil when grilling.

 Originally Published in the June 6, 2012 Print Edition

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Home Safety Checklist

from

http://www.safetyathome.com

  •  Sound the Alarm: Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. If already installed, test them! Tip: Replace the batteries every daylight-saving time change.
  • Avoid Overload: Check for overloaded extension cords – usage should not exceed the recommended wattage.
  • Don’t Get Tippy: If young children are in the home, bookshelves and other furniture should be firmly secured with wall brackets to prevent tipping.
  • Paint Safe: Check walls for loose paint. If re-painting, do so in a well-ventilated area and consider VOC-free paint.
  • Childproof, Childproof, Childproof: Check your local library or online for complete lists of childproofing suggestions.
  • Cover Outlets: Cover all unused outlets to prevent children from sticking a finger in the socket.
  • Watch Cord Placement: Extension cords should not be placed under rugs or heavy furniture, tacked up or coiled while in use.
  • Get Grounded: All major appliances should be grounded. Be sure to check your ground fault circuit interrupters regularly.
  • Plan Your Escape: Practice a fire escape plan with your family, where you identify two exits for every room and what to do with young children.
  • Give Your Air Heater Some Space: All air heaters should be placed at least three feet from beds, curtains or anything flammable.
  • Keep Extinguishers Handy: Place all-purpose fire extinguishers in key locations in your home – the kitchen, bedroom and basement. Be sure to check expiration dates regularly and know how to use them safely.
  • Create a Safe Exit: In addition to alarms and extinguishers, consider an escape ladder if your home has two floors. Keep emergency numbers and contacts readily available by the phone.
  • Unplug Appliances: Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use and store them out of reach.
  • Go New in the Nursery: Check that all painted cribs, bassinettes and high chairs were made after 1978 to avoid potential lead paint poisoning.
  • Cool Your Jets: Set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid potential burns and to save energy.
  • Put Away Medications: Take medications and medical supplies out of your purse, pockets and drawers, and put them in a cabinet with a child safety lock.
  • Look for UL: The UL Mark appears on products that have been tested, verified and inspected for safety. Make sure to look for it, to keep your holidays safe and bright.

Special to The Real Story

 Originally Published in the May 30, 2012 Print Edition

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Guide to Infant Safety

From www.keepkidsheakthy.com

Accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Most of these deaths can easily be prevented, and it is, therefore, important to keep your child’s safety in mind, at all times. Here are some tips to keep your infant safe:

  • Use rear facing infant or convertible car seats in the back seat until your baby is 1 year-old and 20lbs; never place your baby in the front seat of a car with a passenger side airbag. Make sure that you carefully read the car seat’s instructions, so that you install it properly. If your child has outgrown his car seat before he is one, consider buying a larger seat that can fit a child up to 30lbs, while the child faces backwards until the age of one. Refer to the site’s See our Car Seat Safety Guide for more information.
  • Make sure the crib is safe: have no more than 2 3/8 inches between the bars; the mattress should be firm and fit snugly within the crib and place it away from windows and drafts; avoid placing fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, or pillows in the crib, as they can cause smothering; remove bumpers once your child is able to stand.
  • Make sure that used or hand-me-down equipment, such as car seats, strollers, toys and cribs, etc., haven’t been recalled for safety reasons. Call the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for an up-to-date list of recalled products (800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov).
  • Never leave small objects or plastic bags in your baby’s reach, to prevent choking.
  • Put your baby to sleep on his back (sleeping on his side is not as safe, especially if he can roll over onto his stomach), to prevent SIDS and never put them down alone on a waterbed, bean bag, or soft blanket that can cover their face and cause choking. Also make sure that daycare personal or baby-sitters also know to put your baby to sleep on his back.
  • Prevent falls by not leaving your baby alone on a bed or changing table.
  • Maintain smoke free environments for your baby.
  • Avoid exposing your baby to too much sun (use sunscreen after your baby is six months old).
  • Maintain proper use of the harness, when the child is seated in a high chair.
  • If using a bicycle-mounted child seat or a bicycle-towed child trailer, keep in mind that although they are generally thought to be safe, injuries do occur, especially to the child’s head and face. Injuries usually occur from collisions with a car or other bike, falls, or contact with things outside the seat or trailer, especially the bicycle wheel. To be safe, have your child wear a helmet, instruct him to keep his hands inside the seat or trailer, use a seat belt, and to prevent foot injuries, use a foot well or spoke guard.
  • If you must have a gun in the house, keep it and the bullets in separate, locked places.

Originally Published in the May 23, 2012 Print Edition

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Computer Safety Tips for Children

By Robin Stephenson, eHow Contributor

The Internet can be an invaluable learning tool for children. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous, if certain safety precautions aren’t taken. For the most part, adults have the smarts to be able to detect predatory behavior on the Internet. Children, however, are more vulnerable, and need their parents to be vigilant and protect them.

  1. The Good News

The Children’s On-line Privacy Protection Act offers one line of defense in helping protect your children’s privacy. What it does is prevent websites from collecting a child’s personal information, without a parent’s consent. The act also mandates that sites display their privacy policy for parents to review, so they can decide whether the policies are acceptable.

It’s also a good idea to check with your Internet service provider, to see what parental control features it offers. Many offer programs and filters that can block objectionable content from your computer.

  1. Be Involved

Set up your computer in a common area of your home, so that it’s in view when your children are using it. Allowing a child to access the Internet in his own room, behind closed doors, is not recommended. If your child wants e-mail privileges, then create a shared e-mail account, so that you’re privy to the password and correspondence.

Don’t forget about other places, outside of the home, where your child has access to the Internet and you’re not there to monitor his/her activity. You need to be aware of what level of protection your child will have at school, the library and friends’ homes.

  1. Chat Rooms

Although chat rooms can offer a pleasant venue for people with similar interests to congregate and socialize, they can be dangerous places for children. The problem is that they afford people anonymity, so neither you nor your children have any way of knowing whether the person they’re chatting with really is another child or an adult, posing as a child.

It’s a sad fact that many sex offenders prowl chat rooms, looking for children to victimize, and children can easily be fooled into giving away personal details that could put them in danger. Chat room exchanges must be closely monitored by an adult in your home, so that any questionable comments can be handled by an adult, rather than the child.

  1. Personal Information

Let your children know, from the beginning, that the sharing of personal photographs and information, such as addresses, phone numbers, school or hometown is absolutely forbidden. Have them use screen names, instead of their real names, when accessing message boards or e-mail accounts, and let them know that any transgression will result in the loss of computer privileges for a set period of time. Be firm on this, so that the behavior becomes ingrained.

  1. Report Cyber-Bullying

Take the time to talk openly with your children about the concerns you have, and let them know that they should let you know about any on-line activity that scares them or makes them feel uncomfortable. Make sure that if they do come to you with any such information, that you report it to your Internet service provider. If the situation is more serious and your children are ever approached on-line by an adult, or if they receive pornographic material, via e-mail, you should immediately contact the police.

Special to The Real Story

Originally Published in the May 9, 2012 Print Edition

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Children’s Safety Tips from the  NCPC

 Secrets

Many kids tell and share secrets with friends and siblings. Most of the time these secrets are harmless, even silly. Unfortunately sometimes secrets can hurt people and even be dangerous. It’s important that children be able to differentiate between secrets that are okay to keep, and secrets they should never keep. Adults can help children learn this, by teaching them when to keep a secret and when not to, and by instilling in them positive decision-making skills, self esteem, and trust in adults.

The rule is

  • If a secret can’t hurt someone or something, keep it.
  • If a secret can hurt someone or something, tell an adult.
  • If you’re not sure, tell.

It’s okay for children to keep surprise parties and presents secret, because these secrets will make someone happy and won’t be a secret forever. But children should never keep it secret if someone is being bullied, or if someone is involved in dangerous behavior like fighting, vandalizing property, and using drugs.

Sometimes it can be hard for children to decide whether to tell a secret or keep it. The possible consequences may not be clearly negative or positive; the child may not want to violate someone’s trust; and he or she may not want to get in trouble.

You can help children practice making the right decisions by role-playing different scenarios about secrets. Brainstorm possible secrets with children, and ask them to say which ones they would keep, and which they would tell to an adult. Have them decide which adult they would talk to, and what they would do if the first adult they tell doesn’t help.

Here are some more ways you can help your children make positive decisions about secrets.

  • Take time to listen carefully to your children’s fears and feelings about the people and places that scare them or make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Tell kids to trust their instincts. If they think something may be wrong or may hurt someone, act on it.
  • Make sure they know that no one has the right to ask them to keep a secret from their parents.
  • Remind your children that no one, not even a teacher or close relative, has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Tell them that NO adult should ever ask them to keep a special secret, especially one that makes them feel uneasy.
  • Tell kids that, if the first adult they tell a secret to doesn’t believe them or won’t help, to keep telling an adult until they get help.
  • Let children know that they can tell you anything and you’ll be supportive. Make it clear that you won’t blame them, and that they won’t get in trouble for telling you.
  • Take complaints seriously and take action.

 Originally published in the April 25, 2012 Print Edition 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bicycle Safety

Bike riding can be a fun activity for children, but if they don’t know how to ride safely, it can also be a very dangerous one. In 2002, almost 300,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms, after bicycle accidents. Often, these accidents are preventable.

You can protect your children by teaching them the following rules:

  • Always wear a helmet and make sure it’s fastened. Helmets can reduce head injuries by up to 85 percent and, in many states, it’s illegal for children not to wear them.
  • Wear bright clothing. Bright and light-colored clothing makes riders more noticeable. If children are allowed to bike ride after dark, make sure they have reflectors on their bike, helmet, and clothing.
  • Ride in safe places, such as in parks, on bike trails, and on roads with little traffic.
  • Obey the rules of the road. Bikers must stop at all stop signs and red lights, use hand signals when turning, and ride only on the right hand side of the road, with the flow of traffic.
  • Look both ways before crossing an intersection. Seven out of ten bike crashes happen at driveways and intersections.
  • Whenever possible, cross the road at crosswalks. That’s where drivers expect to see bicyclists and pedestrians crossing intersections. Remember, always walk bikes across crosswalks.
  • Give bikes regular tune ups. It’s just as important for a bike to be well maintained, as it is for a car.
  • Lock up or keep bikes in a safe place. To help police return a bike, if it is stolen and recovered, record the serial number and take a picture of the bicycle for their use. Many local police departments have free bike registration days and other bike registration programs.
  • Ride with a friend. It’s more fun and safer, because help is there, if needed.

If children know these tips, they are on their way to safe riding. These same ideas are great for rollerblading and skateboarding too!

Originally Published in April 4, 2012 Print Edition

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Safe at School

Advice for parents on making sure their kids stay safe at school, and while traveling to and from school

For most of the year, children spend more time at school than anywhere else, other than their own home. At school, children need a secure, positive, and comfortable environment to help them learn.

Overall, schools are one of the safest places children can be. However, some schools have problems, such as bullying and theft, which make them less secure. These problems make students and educators feel less safe, and it makes it harder for students to learn and for teachers to do their jobs.

But, there are specific ways that parents can make going to school a safer and more valuable learning experience for their children.

In the Classroom

Kids need a safe and comfortable environment to learn to the best of their capabilities. This means they have to feel safe in their school and be able to positively interact with their teachers and classmates. By doing the following, parents and other adults can help make sure children have a positive school experience.

  • Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell you, right away, if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
  • Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
  • Keep an eye on your children’s Internet use. Many elementary schools have computers with Internet access. Ask your children’s school if students are monitored when they use the Internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites. Talk to your children about what they do online – what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Let them know they can talk to you if anything they see online makes them uncomfortable, whether it’s an explicit website or a classmate bullying them or someone else through email, chat, or websites.
  • Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your children’s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for?

Traveling To and From School

  •  Map out, with your children, a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
  • Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules, when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections, and with crossing guards, when they can.
  • Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops, with other children.
  • Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them, without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school, they should tell an adult.
  • Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers, such as your work and cell phone, on a card, for your children to carry with them.

On the Bus

  •  Have your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick them up.
  • Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk or on the grass, while waiting for the bus.
  • Teach children to make sure they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them, before crossing in front of the bus. Tell them to never walk behind the bus.
  • Be aware that, often, bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.

Special to The Real Story

Originally Published in March 28, 2012 Print Edition

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tips for Staying Safe at Work

A simple list of things people can do to stay safe at work

  • Keep your purse, wallet, keys, or other valuables with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
  • Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office. If anyone makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management, immediately.
  • Don’t stay late if you’ll be alone in the office. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation after hours, or ask a security guard to escort you.
  • Report any broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, broken windows, and doors that don’t lock properly.
  • If you notice signs of potential violence in a fellow employee, report your concerns to the appropriate person. Immediately report any incidents of sexual harassment.
  • Know your company’s emergency plan. If your company does not have such a plan, volunteer to help develop one.
  • If the company does not supply an emergency kit, keep your own emergency supplies (flashlight, walking shoes, water bottle, nonperishable food, etc.) in a desk drawer.
  • If you work at home, in addition to making your home safe and secure, you should hang window treatments that obstruct the view into your office. You don’t want to advertise your expensive office equipment.
  • Review your insurance policy—almost all policies require an extra rider to cover a home office.
  • Mark your equipment with identification numbers, and keep an updated inventory list (with photos, if possible) in a home safe or a bank safe-deposit box. It’s a good idea to keep backups of your work in a secure, separate location as well.
  • Exercise the same caution with deliveries and pickups that businesses do. Anyone making a delivery to your home office should be properly identified before you open the door. Do not let the person enter your home. If you own the company, take a hard look at your business—physical layout, employees, hiring practices, operating procedures, and special security risks. Assess the company’s vulnerability to all kinds of crime, from burglary to embezzlement. Follow basic crime prevention principles, and work with local law enforcement to protect your business.

Originally Published in March 21, 2012 Print Edition

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Protect Yourself From Violent Crime

A list of tips for adults, on staying safe

 Don’t walk or jog early in the morning or late at night, when the streets are deserted.

  • When out at night, try to have a friend walk with you.
  • Carry only the money you’ll need on a particular day.
  • Don’t display your cash or any other inviting targets such as pagers, cell phones, hand-held electronic games, or expensive jewelry and clothing.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. If the person continues to follow you, move quickly toward an open store or restaurant or a lighted house. Don’t be afraid to yell for help.
  • Try to park in well-lighted areas, with good visibility and close to walkways, stores, and people.
  • Make sure you have your key out, as you approach your door.
  • Always lock your car, even if it’s in your own driveway; never leave your motor running.
  • Do everything you can to keep a stranger from getting into your car or to keep a stranger from forcing you into his or her car.
  • If a dating partner has abused you, do not meet him or her alone. Do not let him or her in your home or car, when you are alone.
  • If you are a battered spouse, call the police or sheriff immediately. Assault is a crime, whether committed by a stranger or your spouse or any other family member. If you believe that you and your children are in danger, call a crisis hotline or a health center (the police can also make a referral) and leave immediately.
  • If someone tries to rob you, give up your property – don’t give up your life.
  • If you are robbed or assaulted, report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent someone else from becoming a victim.

 Originally Published in March 14, 2012 Print Edition

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Planning for Emergencies: A Family Guide

What to consider when preparing your family for a disaster or other emergency

What Kinds of Emergencies?

Emergencies are events – natural or human-generated – that disrupt daily life to a high degree. They may have already resulted in death and damage or they may threaten death, injury, and damage.

At the family level, most emergency preparation is similar, regardless of the cause of the emergency. Think about past emergencies in your area. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes suggest the kinds of disruptions communities and families may face. Hazardous material spills may present different challenges. Terrorist attacks can take many forms.  The idea is to know what’s likely and what’s not.  By making your plan based on your specific risks, your family can be better prepared.

What kinds of events are common in your area? If you are not sure, check with the local Red Cross or your city or county emergency management or emergency preparedness office or with firefighters and police officers in your area.

So how do you plan? First, think about your goals. For most people, the prime goal is knowing that all family members are safe and as secure against harm as possible. Most families want to be together, if that is at all possible. A second goal is having what you need to make it through the immediate disaster period. The “Making Sure You Have What It Takes” checklist can help with that. A third goal might be communicating with out-of-town family about your family’s safety. What other goals should your family’s plan address? Talk with other adults in the family. Talk with teens and children. Find out their concerns and help ensure that your disaster preparations address those concerns, where possible. Remind everyone that you’re being preventive and prepared -not running scared.

Second, develop a plan with these goals and the following outline in mind. Your family’s plan is probably going to have some unique features. But there are some basics.

  • Who: Who is included in this plan? Relatives across town? Close friends? Just immediate family members? What about family pets?
  • Where: Home is where the heart is, and it’s probably going to be the center of your family plan. But what are the back-up locations? It might be the nearby house of worship, the closest elementary school, or a close friend’s home. The point is to decide on the back-ups and make sure everyone knows what and where they are.
  • What: What will trigger the emergency plan? An official announcement? Notification from authorities to people in your immediate area? A call from one of the adults to all the others involved? A call from a child’s school? Remember to think about how other family members will be notified.
  • When: What time frames help shape your plan? Does everyone work or go to school within a few miles? Then, people should be at home fairly quickly. If some people have a long commute, they may be held up by emergency conditions. How do you cope if the emergency is projected to last several days?
  • Why: Family members should understand, to the best of their ability, why the plan includes certain provisions. Why must children stay at school under certain circumstances, for example? Why might a parent stay out of town if on travel during an emergency?
  • How: This gets down to the steps of the plan. Think through key points.  Who will take what responsibilities?  Where will emergency supplies be kept?  How will supplies be updated?  What about the Family Link-Up Plan–how will it be updated?  What different steps are involved in a “shelter in place” situation versus an evacuation order?  What if there is no information from authorities?  What training do family members need?  How often will the family review its plan?

Strategies and Tactics to Consider

Some of the strategies and tactics to consider in developing a plan include the following:

  • Make sure everyone has basic family phone contact numbers and business or school addresses. Remember that email may work when phone circuits are overloaded.
  • Identify places to meet, both near the house and farther away. Set a priority order about which place to go to, why, and when.
  • Establish an out-of-town contact that everyone can call and report to.  Make sure the contact agrees, and make sure everyone knows how to dial that long-distance number. Consider prepaid calling cards, for everyone’s convenience.
  • Keep vehicles in good working order and keep the gas tank at least half full, at all times. Remember, if power fails, gas pumps won’t work!
  • Stockpile a disaster kit, in advance, and refresh supplies at least every six months. Consider seasonal changes in your family’s needs. For example, you might want to have more blankets available in the fall and winter season.
  • Know how to safely turn off the water, electricity, and gas that serve your home.
  • “What if?” your plan. What if a major roadway is blocked? What if power is out and the car is low on gas? What if mass transit is unavailable? Where will these family members go? How will they communicate that they are safe?
  • What local situations in your neighborhood or community might result in evacuation? How should family members pack for this situation? What about care for pets in cases where they cannot be in shelters?
  • Find out about plans that link with yours. What plans do children’s schools have in place? What plans are in place where you and other adults work? Make sure school and workplace have updated contact information for all members of your family. What are local authorities’ plans for your area?
  • How might your family work together with neighbors to prepare and survive an emergency? Are there neighbors with special needs? Who could help them? Talk together; share the skills and equipment you could make available to each other. Devise ways you could help each other’s families, if the need arises. Third, revisit your plan.
  • Review the plan, as a group, every few months. Consider holding family rehearsals or drills if you live in areas where there might be little warning of an emergency.
  • Don’t forget to update the plan to account for new schools children attend, changes in job locations or employers, and the like.

Originally Published in March 7, 2012 Print Edition

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Senior Safety Tips

Many legitimate companies and charities solicit consumers by phone and consider it an effective way to raise money or increase company business. Unfortunately, others are simply up to no good. We at the National Crime Prevention Council believe seniors can prevent telemarketing fraud by being educated consumers.

According to the FTC, nearly 25 million Americans are victims of consumer fraud each year. Senior citizens continue to be a rapidly increasing segment of the population, and that makes them a prime target for con artists and thieves. Americans who are 65 or older represent about 13 percent of our country’s population, and their population will only continue to grow as the Baby Boomer generation begins to enter that age range.

Studies have shown that senior citizens are more at risk of being targeted by telemarketing scams than other age groups, and fraudulent telemarketers direct anywhere from 56 to 80 percent of their calls at older Americans. These con artists believe that senior citizens are vulnerable and more susceptible to their tricks.  However, NCPC is helping many seniors to be shrewd and savvy citizens by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Offers too good to be true, usually are. Ask to receive the “unbelievable deal” or the “amazing prize offer” in writing, so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.
  • Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will never ask you for this information over the phone.
  • If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or asks for your credit card number or Social Security number, tell the person you don’t give out personal information over the telephone.
  • Remember that legitimate telemarketers won’t be turned off if you use these techniques. They will appreciate dealing with an educated consumer. It’s not rude – it’s shrewd!
Originally Published in February 29, 2012 Print Edition

No comments yet.

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: