Keeping track of all our security passwords and codes is a pain. There’s one for the credit cards, a few for work, and a half dozen others for everything from the online bill paying to our social media accounts.
Since it’s become such hassle, all too many of us are using an easy-to-remember password that is making it very easy for cyber-crooks to breach our security and have access to our bank accounts and other important personal information. In the US alone there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. That is why creating a strong password that is easy for you to remember, yet difficult for a hacker to guess is so important.
When you create a password to protect your personal information please avoid using:
These passwords have been named “worst passwords of the year 2018” and many of them have been on the worst list for YEARS. Using these, and others like football, abc123, and 654321 (also on the list), means you are making it too easy for hackers and criminals to compromise your accounts.
So, what’s the key to creating a complex, secure password? Use one that employs 12 characters or more with a mix of symbols, letters, and numbers.
To avoid having one of the worst passwords, follow these password creation tips:
- Create passwords with as many letters, symbols, numbers and mixed case letters as possible
- Use mnemonic tricks to remember your passwords
- Store your passwords in a safe place that’s not on your computer
- Use different and unique passwords for important accounts
- Set up your password recovery options and keep them up to date
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says a secure password should look something like this: Il2pBb3x!. The sequence comes from, “I like to play basketball three times a week,” just changed to simple symbols. Or think of a word that only has significance to you, change a few letters to make them capital, make some letters into symbols, and add in a long number. Ex. m@VEr1cK5991
And, if that all seems too complicated, there are free online password generator internet sites that will do the hard work for you. But once you’ve created a nearly full-proof password, your work is still not done. Experts advise that passwords need to be changed often, possibly once a month or quarter.
California Casualty also offers an added layer of protection; every auto and home insurance policy comes with free ID Theft 911 protection, which comes with ID theft resolution service. Contact an advisor for more information or a free policy review at 1.866.704.8614 or visit www.calcas.com.
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Back to school is here and that means so is bicycle season! We are about to see an influx of children riding their bikes to and from school, extracurricular activities, and the houses of all of their new friends. Before your child straps on their helmet and takes off down the sidewalk, give yourself peace of mind knowing they are safe by educating them on Bicycle Safety.
Key Bicycle Safety TIPS:
- Wear a helmet
- Avoid night riding
- No loose clothing
- Check your tires & brakes
- Don’t ride in bad weather
- Look at for cars
- Follow the rules of the road
- Always be on the look out for hazards
- NEVER drive distracted
Save our free Bicycle Safety printable below to give to your children or hang up next to their bike gear as a visual reminder that they can always refer back to.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Summertime is in full swing! However, along with summer heat is the threat of summer burglary. Nobody wants to return home to find someone has burglarized their hard-earned possessions.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Justice warns that break-ins heat up during the summer months. Most of those are crimes of opportunity from criminals looking for an easy target like open windows or garage doors.
Here are some tips to prevent a summer burglary:
Make Your Home Less Vulnerable
- Trim back bushes or hedges that block visibility and give a thief areas to hide
- Install outdoor lighting
- Put indoor lights on timers
- Have a security system installed
- Get a dog
- Keep garage doors closed
- Always lock doors and windows
- Keep watch of your neighbors’ homes and ask they do the same for you
- Have a trusted friend, neighbor or relative make trips to your home or park a car in the driveway to make it look lived in while you are away
Don’t Advertise to Criminals
- Stop mail and newspaper deliveries if you are going away
- Arrange for any home deliveries to your neighbors when you are not home
- Don’t leave garbage cans out while you are away
- Never leave notes on doors telling someone you are out and when you will return
- Leave a radio or TV on while you are away
- Conceal valuables and don’t them visible from the outside
- Break down and conceal boxes for expensive items and electronics when putting out the trash (boxes for the new 60” HD TV or the latest computer are like shopping flyers for thieves)
- Don’t advertise on social media that you are going away to grandma’s house or a wonderful vacation (this goes for your children)
- Make a complete home inventory of your possessions to assist if you need to file a police report, speed up an insurance claim and help with a tax-loss write off
- Be sure to have an identity theft protection and recovery service if burglars get access to your personal or banking information
- Protect your possessions with homeowners or renters insurance
Not only do you feel violated after someone breaks into your home, but it can be expensive to fix the damage and replace items. That’s why you need homeowners and renters insurance. We can’t stop all criminals, but California Casualty is here to protect you with quality auto and home insurance with exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Every policy also comes with free ID theft protection. Call an adviser today for a policy comparison or review at 1.800.800.9410, or visit www.calcas.com.
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This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.
Wildfires seem to be burning faster and more intense than ever. The past few years have seen the largest and most destructive conflagrations in US history. Wildfire preparation tips are more important than ever.
Too many people have come back to find melted remnants of prized personal possessions; homes in ashes.
Here are five key wildfire preparation tips for your community or neighborhood:
- Create a home inventory. 60% of homeowners and renters have still not documented the things they own, which can cause post-fire/disaster headaches.
- Know where fire extinguishers are kept and teach everyone how to use them. Make them easily accessible in the event an of emergency.
- Have a family escape plan. Practice how you would exit your home from different rooms in the event of a fire and set a safe meeting point, away from the property, if you were to get separated.
- Prepare an emergency kit with important documents. Include copies of banking information, insurance policies, home mortgage and deeds, etc.
- Review and understand your insurance policy. Whether you are renting or owning, know what it pays and does not pay for. Get extra protection for collectibles and high-dollar possessions with a scheduled personal property endorsement.
While these are great wildfire preparation tips, there are several other things to keep in mind in you are effected :
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
- Secure the property from further damage
- Contact creditors, banks and appropriate agencies about credit cards, tax returns, Social Security cards or other papers that may have been scattered in the disaster
- Check your credit report to make sure nobody is using your personal information
- Be very wary of fly-by-night work crews and contractor fraud
Download and print your copy of these Wildfire Preparation Tips here.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.
The recent large earthquakes in Southern California are a reminder to always be earthquake-ready.
Earthquakes come on suddenly, with very little warning. They can be a sharp jolt followed by the ground shaking and cracking, or waves rolling across the ground.
Earthquakes can hit anywhere at any time, and while the West Coast is considered “earthquake country,” the U.S. Geological Survey warns that earthquakes have been registered in every state in the union, with special seismic hazards for areas encompassing the western-third of the nation, and areas extending from Missouri and Illinois to most of the Eastern Seaboard.
After an earthquake strikes many are often left disoriented and full of adrenaline –psyche and security shaken as much as their house. Post-quake your home or apartment may look damage-free, but there can be many hidden dangers.
After checking your family and others for injuries, here are key steps you need to take to ensure your safety:
- Check for gas and water line leaks. Know where the shutoff valves are if you smell gas or detect water leaking to prevent fires and water damage.
- Be aware of downed power lines.They can still carry a dangerous current.
- Inspect chimneys and brick areas for cracks. If cracked, they could send dangerous debris down on you or others.
- Check water heater and furnace vents. If they have become separated, it could send dangerous carbon monoxide into the home.
- Watch for electrical sparking or the smell of burning wire insulation. This could lead to a fire. Unplug any broken lights or appliances and turn off power at the main fuse box if you detect an issue.
- Clean up spilled medicines, drugs or harmful chemicals. Bleach, turpentine, hazardous garden supplies, etc.
- Don’t drink from faucets or other unprotected water sources. Wait until given the okay from your municipality or utility, because they could be contaminated.
Always Plan Ahead
Before an earthquake, or other natural disaster hits, you should always have a plan. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare:
- Develop a family communication plan and “meet-up” location if you become separated
- Have your first aid kit fully stocked
- Prepare an emergency kit with: water, medicines, food, money, other important documents, etc.
- Have basic emergency supplies gathered all in one place: flash lights, batteries, blankets, a radio, lighters or matches, cell phone chargers, extra clothes
- Be sure to have coverage insurance.
If you have comprehensive coverage with your auto insurance, your vehicle is covered for damage from falling debris and other impacts from earthquakes.
However, earthquake damage is not covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy, and less than 20% of Americans have purchased a policy. That means most people whose property suffers losses from a temblor will be paying out of pocket or relying on federal assistance and loans for recovery.
You can be prepared; California Casualty provides earthquake insurance as an endorsement to home owners policies in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon and Rhode Island. We also offer earthquake coverage through our partner, GeoVera Insurance Company, in California, Oregon and Washington. Learn more and get a quote at 877.652.2638 or visit www.calcas.com/earthquake-insurance.
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Americans love to BBQ; and like baseball, grilling can be considered an American summer pastime. Grilling season peaks in the summer months with 75% of US adults actively BBQ-ing for holidays like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. However; rain showers and snowstorms won’t stop us, 63% of Americans say they continue to grill year-round.
With the arrival of summer, more people than ever will be breaking out the gas and charcoal. If this includes you, remember to be cautious and never leave your grill unattended. A small grill fire could easily lead to a home in flames. On average 10,200 house fires are started by grills each year, which estimates to about a combined $37 million in property loss.
So, whether you are grilling for enjoyment, to host family and friends, or just for that savory flavor the summer, follow these simple grilling safety tips to help prevent a house fire:
1. Grill at least 10 feet from your home or garage
-The farther away from any structures or home decor the better
2. Do not grill under any overhangs or structures
-This includes branches, wires, carports, awnings, etc.
3. Do not leave your grill uncovered unattended
-It only takes one minute for a fire to double in size
4. Turn on your grill and light your gas right away
-Don’t wait, if the gas builds up it can cause an explosion
5. Make sure your grill is not leaking
-Test it! Spray your tank with soapy water, if the water bubbles, you’ve got a leak
6. Keep your grill clean
-Caked-on grease acts as fuel and will only make a fire stronger
7. Do not put too much food on at once
-Dripping fat will only make the flames stronger
8. Keep water or an extinguisher close by-
-If a small fire were to start, you can catch and extinguish it at the source
9. Never grill indoors
-A spark or flare up could easily catch something on fire, plus grills release carbon monoxide, which can be deadly
10. Let your grill completely cool off before moving or covering it
-Wait 2-3 hours after use and touch it with your hands, if it is still warm, then wait another 2-3 hours before moving or covering
One of a homeowner’s worst nightmares is a house fire, so remember to always use caution and common sense when you fire up the grill.
To make sure you and your family are properly covered in case of a house fire please visit www.mycalcas.com or contact a Customer Service representative to review your policy at 1.800.800.9410.
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