Texas Living

Safe and Sound: Commonly Overlooked Risks

By James Mayfield 9.9.15

You’re a safe person. You lock your doors at night, wear sunscreen when outdoors, and never let the gas gauge on your car fall below the red line. But there are many ways you could be putting yourself at risk without even realizing it.

Consider the following safety risks and make sure you or your family are not in harm’s way.

Identity Theft. Identity thieves steal around 15 million U.S. resident identities each year. Before tossing your mail in the nearest recycle bin, be sure to shred bank statements, financial investment papers, bills, unwanted credit card solicitations, and anything with your Social Security number on it.

Accidental Poisoning. Of the 1.34 million calls made to poison control centers annually for children, 49 percent are medicine related. While the bathroom waste bin may be the most convenient option for disposing of unused medication, opt for community or pharmacy take-back programs for a safer alternative.

Carjacking. Carjackers target unsuspecting victims. Avoid being one of them by concealing valuables in the trunk before leaving home, steering clear of both high-crime and sparsely populated areas, choosing the center lane where your car is harder to reach, and staying alert during stop-and-go traffic.

Online Predators. When hosting a virtual garage sale on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook, stay safe by limiting the amount of personal information you reveal in words or photos. Also meet the buyer away from your home at a safe public place.

Unexpected Disasters. Floods, fires, acts of terrorism. If disaster strikes, be ready to grab-and-go with a catch-all bag containing your driver’s license, medications, flashlight, first-aid kit, bottled water, radio, a change of clothes, and contact info for friends, family, doctors, and your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent.

Personal-Tech Hacking. Did you realize there are several forms of Bluetooth hacking, such as bluejacking and bluesnarfing, that give hackers access to your smartphone and other devices? Thwart would-be thieves by turning off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it, and only sync devices in private locations. Be sure to check your Bluetooth settings occasionally to ensure that no unknown devices are connected without your knowledge.

The above safety concerns are just a few of the ways Texans come into contact with unforeseeable hazards. Watching out for these dangers can help safety-minded individuals take care of themselves and their families.