Cash point safety tips

It’s something we all do on a regular basis but how many people take extra care when they visit a cash machine? There are over 60,000 cash machines in operation throughout the UK and sadly, a large number of people fall victim to crimes at the dispensers. This makes us angry at Xtra Security so we have studied the subject of cash point attacks and come up with this safety advice.

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always use cash points in public places and be careful of anyone acting suspiciously near the ATM. If people are close behind you, walk away, and use another machine.
  • Look for anything unusual: Check to see if the cash point has been modified in any way or there is anything suspicious attached to the machine. Thieves have been known to ‘skim’ card details by attaching devices to cash machines that record card details, whilst tiny cameras overhead capture your PIN.
  • Shield the keypad: When you are entering your pin conceal the keypad by using your body as a blocking device. Don’t advertise your PIN to all and sundry, keep your number closely guarded.
  • Avoid distractions: Be wary of people trying to talk to you when you are taking money from the machine. Criminals work in teams, one person will talk to you whilst the other has it away with your money.
  • Put money away quickly: Don’t stand next the cash machine counting out your cash note by note. Place your money straight into your purse or wallet and if you do feel the need to check it, make sure it’s in a private place where there’s nobody about.
  • Use common sense: If you feel uneasy about using a cash machine for whatever reason it’s best to walk away. Go with your gut instinct, it’s usually right and it could save you from becoming the victim of a cash point attack.

Tips to keep your property safe when you’re away on holiday

One of our earlier blogs looked at methods to help you secure your home on a budget but how can you keep the property safe when you go away? This blog looks at crime prevention tips when you are out of the country topping up your tan.

Make your home looked lived in – Probably one of the easiest ways to create the impression that you’re still at home is to fool thieves into thinking you are there. Leave curtains pulled back, cancel the milk and any newspapers that you have delivered, and use timers on lights, radios and televisions so they come on and go off at different times of the day. Create a lived-in look and thieves should look elsewhere.

Be discreet about your movements – Try to avoid telling all and sundry about your travel plans, if you mention you are ‘going away for a while’ in the local pub anyone could overhear the conversation. Be selective about who you tell, keep it to close friends and family members, don’t brag in the butchers you are ‘Off to Benidorm’ at the end of the week or you might come back to an empty house.

Ask people to pop in – Leave a spare key with friends or a member of the family and ask them to check on the house from time to time. If you have a mate that still lives at home with their parents see if they fancy doing a spot of ‘house sitting’ for a few days and ask them to keep an eye on your house. They might enjoy the freedom and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind knowing that somebody is staying in your property.

Move precious items elsewhere – If you have personal or precious items that you couldn’t live without ask somebody to store them for you away from the home. Pop them in a safety deposit box or simply get a relative to keep hold of them until you return just to be on the safe side.

Hire a house sitter – Look for a professional agency that supplies house sitters for people that go on holiday. They’re very reputable, have thorough background checks, come with oodles of references and some of them will even look after you pets as well. So your home is safer and you’ll know your pets are fed and receive plenty of attention if you do decide to book a last-minute break.

The Future of Home Security

If there’s one thing that we all want to protect, it’s our home. Once upon a time the only way we could do this was to ensure that everything was locked. And that our locks were sturdy. But as technology advanced we installed alarms, CCTV and motion sensors to our homes, making them even more secure.

Recently though, there haven’t been as many leaps in home security. No game changers. Nothing that allows us to completely monitor our home – something you’d think would be widely popular by now.

There is however, a product in the pipeline that could enable us to do this. It’s called Canary.

Canary is a cylindrical tube made up of a whole host of different bits of tech. Each of these tech bits are designed to monitor your home. It includes:

  • Air Quality Sensor
  • Humidity Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Motion Detector
  • WI-FI
  • A HD camera with nightvision
  • Microphone
  • Siren
  • And more

All of these things monitor your home and if it detects something out of the ordinary, it’ll let you know. For example – if you’re at the office knuckling down to work, and Canary detects a spike in temperature, it’ll let you know via your smartphone. From there you can jump into a live feed of your home using Canary’s camera and your smartphone allowing you to see if everything is okay.

It’s ideal for everything security – from keeping an eye on your pet to staying on the lookout for burglars.

It doesn’t require any tech savvy set up either. It’s just a matter of placing it in a room, plugging in and connecting. From there it learns your habits, so it can better detect anomalies.

One of my main worries about this though is when it wrongly detects something different. The temperature spikes for example. Many people live in areas where temperature isn’t really a constant. I don’t want to be continuously wrongly notified of a temperature spike in my home. If it can truly learn from its surroundings though, this won’t be a problem.

It hasn’t been rolled out just yet, but it’s expected to retail at $200. That’s just €145.41. A home security system for anyone.

Would you implement this device in your home? Or does the standard key and lock work just fine for you?

Let us know!

7 ridiculously simple ways to protect your car from theft

In our last blog we looked at how you can secure your home on a budget. So now the burglar isn’t going to bother with your property. But what about your car? It’s valuable, it might contain something worth stealing and it’s relatively easy to break into.

What we don’t realise is that car thieves are smart. They earn their living from jacking your vehicle and they know how to do it well. That’s why it’s so difficult to prevent it.

In this blog we’re going to outline 7 ways to better secure your car from pesky thieves.

Lock your car – You’re probably reading this saying ‘duhhhh’ but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who forget to do it. Whether they’re in a rush, they’re just popping into the shop for a minute or they’re just the forgetful type – an unlocked car is asking to be stolen. Always check that you’ve locked it up.

Take your keys – Not too dissimilar to our last point. If you’re nipping into the shop to pick up a paper, it isn’t fine to leave your keys in the ignition. You’re making it far too easy for them.

Park smart – When you’re parking up, asses the location you’re in. Is it well lit? Is it known for a high crime rate? If you’ve parked your car down a dark and dingy side street there’s a good chance that a thief is going to have a go at breaking in.

Don’t advertise – If you park up and leave your laptop lying on the passenger seat for hours on end I’d bet it isn’t there when you return. Don’t turn your vehicle into a shop window. Thieves do look into cars to see if it’s worth their time. Make sure that they don’t think yours is.

Alarm it – Car thieves love quiet and dark. If you alarm your car and they break in, they’re quickly going to bolt when that ear piercing noise kicks in. It’s a worthy investment for anyone.

Garage – If the car isn’t out on the street, it won’t be seen by thieves. Purchase or hire a garage space and leave your car in there over night. Make sure you implement security measures on the garage too.

Invest in a steering wheel lock – If you’re trying to protect your vehicle you need to put plenty of obstacles in the way. A steering wheel lock can be seen from the outside and might just end up being one obstacle too many.

7 ways to secure your home on a budget

Your home is dear to you, and so ensuring that it’s secure is paramount. The problem is, security systems can be expensive. Most of us can’t afford a detailed, high tech system to protect our home.

Well fear not. In this blog we’re going to look at 5 ways that you can ensure that your house is safe on a budget.


One of the best ways to deter thieves is to light up your home. It’s relatively inexpensive to do too. If you purchase motion sensor lights then any time someone approaches the building at night, on the light will pop.

What burglar likes to be illuminated as they work?


I always recommend keeping your hedges and tress cut back. These are a great hidey hole for approaching thieves.

Make sure you give them nowhere to hide.


Windows are probably the most popular entry point for burglars. Alarming your windows though, can be expensive.

Well there is a cheaper alternative.

There are glass break detectors on the market that detect vibrations on the glass and then emit a high pitched alarm. Alerting you to what’s going on.


A lot of burglars prey on easy access buildings. This is why setting a perimeter with a fence is a must. At least in your back yard. Thieves don’t like have to scale obstacles, so set as many as you can for them.

Leave the light on

Heading out for the evening? Then leave a bedroom or front light on. Yes, it might push your electricity bill up a little bit but it’ll almost certainly deter unwanted visitors. No thief wants to break into a building that they think is occupied.

They’re not that stupid.

Love thy neighbour

Make friends with your neighbours. They’ll be able to keep an eye on your property whilst you’re on holiday or away on business. It’s always good to know that someone has their eye on your property. Remember though, you should do the same for them.

Don’t advertise

It might be tempting to show off your brand new plasma screen TV in the front window but I’d bet it’d soon go missing. Keep all your valuables out of sight. Thieves walk the streets looking into houses like they’re shop windows. Don’t make them want to come in.

So there you go 7 ways to protect your home without having to break the bank. Just try and think from a burglar’s perspective. How would you break into your own property?