Friday, November 15, 2013

My Top 10 Safety Tips for Mobile Notaries

The general crime rate in November and December seems to be climbing year after year.  Mobile Notaries should remain diligent when it comes to their personal safety while travelling to and from appointments.  Here are my Top 10 Safety Tips for Mobile Notaries that go out on regular assignments.

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1.  Make sure you don't open emails and files you are not expecting.  Every year criminals are getting more and more innovative using phishing techniques.  Phishing is a common trick used by identity thieves to gain your personal information.  This crime involves sending e-mails or creating sites that appear to be from a legitimate company and asking you to confirm personal information such as bank account numbers, passwords, birth dates, or addresses.  Just be very careful.

2.  Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.  Routine maintenance, oil changes and oh yes.....gas.  That means making sure you have plenty of gas in your vehicle at the beginning of the day.  I have started out to my last appointment of the day, gotten about 5 miles from the location, and discovered I was out of gas.  The last gas station happened to be 5 miles in the opposite direction.  Not fun at all.

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3.  Don't carry all your credit cards with you.  Only carry one or two at the most at any given time.  By only having one or two cards with you and limiting the amount of cash on your person, you lower your overall loss if you have them stolen while out in the field.  

4.  Head out to your appointments a little early.  Roads will be wet and slick in some areas.  Also, during the holidays (Black Friday Shopping, etc.)   people seem to be in more of a rush.  Arriving a little early could save you that important client.

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5.  Stay Vigilant at ALL Times.  Be extra alert and attentive about the time of day you go to your appointments.  If you leave early in the morning or midday, be aware of school buses on your route.  They make frequent stops and starts with children running around everywhere.

6.  When leaving to go out on appointments take a little extra time to make sure your doors and windows in your home are locked and your security system (if appilcable) is turned on.  If you go out at night leave one or two lights on to deter burglars from entering your house.  Unfortunately home invasions are going up across the country.  In several cases, when the criminals are caught, they state that they only look for homes where no one is home.

7.   When going out to your vehicle either before an appointment or after an appointment, inspect your vehicle and ensure everything is the way you left it.  Once in your vehicle, always fasten your seat belt and ensure you can see clearly out all the windows.

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8.  Carry a couple of bottles of water in your vehicle.  Every year I hear at least one story about how someone has slid off the road in a rural area and was stuck, trapped in their car, for days.  The water they kept in their car sustained them until help arrived.

9.  Be Purposeful in Your Movements.  This is especially true when coming and going from your vehicle.  Make sure you are not walking with headphones in.   You want to be able to hear things as they happen around you.  Also try to face people and greet them as you walk by.

10.  Don't text and drive.  Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous and takes your focus completely off the road.  Statistics show texting while driving has been linked to tens of thousands of accidents and fatalities.  Numerous studies have pointed out that texting while you're behind the wheel is actually more dangerous than drinking and driving.    

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