Protect your floors, but protect your phone first!

I wanted to write about protecting your floors. However, I was recently a victim of a phone hijack. Hijacking phone numbers is a high tech crime that is on the rise because perpetrators can intercept your phone number easily from miles away.  Once the crook has obtained your phone number, obtaining new credit cards by assuming your identity is a breeze with your phone number in their possession.  Not only are the data and account information on your phone in jeopardy but also the phone hijacker has greater credibility to establish new lines of credit by verifying security codes sent to your phone number.  If you are scratching your head to fathom how your phone number can be stolen without it being physically taking it from you, you can learn vicariously from me. 

When this happened to me, I had several glitches with my phone and within two days my phone was inoperable.  The hijacker quickly got into my Paypal account, Facebook and established new credit cards and made several transactions.  All the while, I was combating credit card companies and service providers to decimate the new charges accruing under my name and my email address. 

Unfortunately, I was unaware of this kind of porting phone scam until I became a victim of this crime.  I feel remiss if I did not make other people aware of how to take preemptive measures to ensure it does not happen to them.  Below are a few suggestions to prevent your phone number from being in a phone port scam. 

This is how porting a number works:

Porting a number to a new provider shuts off the phone of the original user, and forwards all calls to the new device. Once in control of the mobile number, thieves can request any credit card company or service like Paypal to send a one-time code via text message or an automated call to the
the newly stolen phone number to their activated device.  Porting normally occurs when upgrading to a new phone which allows one to take their phone number with them when they change phone carriers. Unfortunately, porting is available to crooks.

In these cases, the fraudsters can call a customer service specialist at a mobile provider and pose as you, providing the things that identify you; like name, date of birth, social security number and other information. Often this is enough to have your calls temporarily forwarded to another number, or ported to a different provider’s network. 

The hijacker simply pretends to be you and requests a new SIM card for your account. They get the SIM, they get access to your number.  And since only one SIM card can be attached to a number at any given point, it effectively disables your current SIM card. The end result is that your phone is disabled and someone else has your number as their own.

How to Protect Your Phone:

1. File a police report within your city and the city of the phone hijacker.  Usually, the address and IP address of where the hijacker is located will be made known to you from the fraudulent credit cards the hijacker started. 

2. You should do a factory reset but do not use a backup to set your phone up or you may import the hackers ability to get into your phone from your backup. So before you do a factory reset go onto a computer and change your Google account password as you need to regain control of your accounts first. Hackers will know your passwords for everything so you cannot use any of them again.

3. Call your phone service provider to add a security PIN to your account. The process is going to be different for every carrier, but this PIN will be required to make changes to your account, which includes porting your number to a new carrier or requesting a new SIM card. Thus, it secures your account against both port-out and SIM swap scams.

4. Put a security freeze and credit report lock to make credit bureaus aware of identity theft.  Or just keep a security freeze on your credit until you need to unlock it. 

More information on the following links:

https://about.att.com/sites/cyberaware/ni/blog/porting

https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/identity-theft/fraud-alert-security-freeze-credit-lock/

Love Your Floors…

Love your floors and you’ll find a years of easy maintenance, time after time. They will be waiting to be cared for. So this Valentine’s Day, treat your floors with OXOXOXO. And we can put a stop to covering up stains with rugs or tables. Here’s some tips for showing some love to your floors.

Floor Love 101:

For wood floors- sweep or vacuum regularly. It is best to avoid using any kind of abrasive cleaners.

For laminate flooring- a dust mop, or a damp cloth are great for cleaning.

For tile floors- regularly clear any lose dirt, hair, and other dust and debris in grout lines.

For vinyl floors- a cleaning solution of clear, non-sudsy ammonia and water helps to pick up grime and dirt.

For carpets- steam clean your carpets once a year. Spring is good time to do this to help remove allergens and debris from last year.

hot water extraction

If you want to bring some love to floors, call 480-710-4110.

*If you recently had new flooring is installed in your home, then, you should extend the longevity of your flooring by finding a good routine treatment that works with you and your family’s schedule.

What You Need to Know about Pet Spots and Odor

Pet spots and odors require immediate attention for best results.  And even the utmost care in cleaning might not get the spots and odors completely removed.  It is difficult to say your pet spots will be completely gone. But if you use the checklist below, you can figure out if it’s going to be simple to get out or more involved.

Pet Stain Checklist

  • How long ago did the pet spot(s) occur?
  • Do you suspect urine spots you are unaware of? (Elite uses a high power black light to find spots not visible to the naked eye)
  • Sometimes pets like to return to the same area to do their “business”. Do you think this is a favorite spot for your pet?
  • Is your carpet cleaned at least once a year or more?
  • How badly is the area soiled?
  • Did you try to treat it yourself and the spots and odors still did not come out?

*Most pet stains will take at least two treatments and most likely the third treatment.  However, people do not want a carpet cleaner coming to their house more than once.  In addition, most people feel that would have to pay for multiple visits.  Elite does not charge for the post- treatments.

Recent Review from Marianne 

5 star rating 10/14/2018

Justin and Elite Floor & Furniture Cleaners are awesome!!! Every phone call and text were responded to quickly. I received a quote the same day and was able to schedule cleaning my rugs and couch within a week. The best part – a stain showed up on my couch after it was cleaned, and Justin came back not once, but twice (!!) (it was a pet stain (?) I was not aware of) to get it clean! He responded so quickly and returned twice within a week. I’m so impressed with his care and the quality of his cleaning. He was prompt, professional and friendly. I’d recommend his services to anyone and everyone I know! Thanks again Justin!! 

Here’s What You Need to Know

The quicker the response time in addressing the spots and odors makes all the difference in the level of difficulty to reduce or remove spots and odors.

Once found, the area needs to be extracted and treated with chemicals that are appropriate for that spots and odors.  For example, urine treatment requires different chemicals to be cleaned properly.

The area must be completely dried which takes up to 48 hours.  After the treatment, more of the stain will come up to surface.  This is why a post-treatment is a part of the cleaning process.  This is normal.

Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning include the post-treatment in the total cost.  So don’t be shy when a post-treatment is needed.  Remember, it is most likely expected.

There are three treatments available to address the level of damage. 

  1. The spots and odors are a few months old and may be removed with a topical enzyme treatment.
  2. The spots and odors have aged more and there is a strong odor. This occurs with cats because they have a higher concentration of urine than dogs.

20150910_094051
Kitten at play

Thus, a pre-treatment, subsurface is needed.  Some of Elite’s clients’ have had success with “Nature’s Miracle” which can be found at your local pet store.

3. The spots and odors are deeply soiled which requires a carpet pad replacement and sealing the subfloor extraction and a post-treatment if needed.

Back To School Cleaning Tips

20170920_143214 (2)

My daughter is already back to school and that means we have to get our home ready for family and friends coming over this fall.  Here are some extra clean-up duties, we do as school gets back in session.

1.     Use a dustbuster or hand vacuum for soft surfaces; like curtains and pillows.  They can trap allergens and make the air inside your home unhealthy.  In addition to the environmental allergens in the Phoenix area, we take some extra steps to eliminate them in our home.   20180823_174110

 2.     Wash your child’s stuffys and other soft items.  Stuffed animals attract pet dander and dust mites, especially since these items are not washed as often as we like.  Make sure the stuffed toys are durable to handle a wash with hot water (should be at least 130 degrees F) in the washing machine.

20180823_174448

*Try FREEZING stuffed animals.  Really, place soft toys in a plastic bag, then freeze for 24 hours and say goodbye to dust mites.

 3.     Clean underneath.  Often times, I find food, small toys, and even clothes in the couches I clean.  So move around the furniture from the walls and clean underneath to remove any unwanted debris. 20170405_112612 (2).jpg

 4.     Replace air filters.   Too bad we don’t have timers to tell us when air filters need to be replaced.  Just take a look at your filter and compare it to a new filter.  Most likely, you need to replace it.  Try to replace your air filters every 3-6 months, depending on the condition of them.

Alright, here’s to a busy, fast-paced school season!  We love the fun-filled holidays, school events and extracurricular activities.  Hope you get to fit in some of these cleaning tips!

Having Some Natural Stone Woes?

Removing crystallization on travertine
Removing crystalization on travertine

20180613_095700Travertine, granite, and marble bring a majestic beauty to your home that doesn’t quite compare to other types of flooring.  However to keep up with its luster, it calls for consistent maintenance.  The porous travertine is made of calcium carbonate which should have been sealed prior to interior and exterior use.  If it was not, then it is vulnerable to scratching, staining and damage by acidity.  Travertine and other natural stones do require a special cleaning solution.
Here is your do not do list:

  • No vinegar, acid-based cleaners
  • No citrus oils, fruit drinks, acne cream
  • No standing water for long periods of time
  • No direct heat on stone surfaces

The picture above shows years of build up that created a layer of crystalized dirt and debris.   Mopping helped with the build up that distributed the dirt.  A safe and eco-friendly cleaning solution was successful in delivering beautiful results.  (see the right side of the picture)

Take a look at the marble below.  The proper use of equipment and knowing the chemistry of solutions are needed when polishing marble.  The bottom line to cleaning natural stone is to effectively bring out its natural beauty and longevity!

3 Simple Tips To Getting Your Home Clean For Spring Entertaining

 

With Easter just around the corner, you might be planning to have friends and family in your home! If you are, you know that your house has to be extra clean for all the bunnies you are welcoming into your home.  Don’t stress about cleaning for your upcoming gathering because I have some helpful tips on how to get a clean home just in time:

1. Clean Your Furniture

 

Why furniture?  Well, everyone is going to be looking at where they sit, right?  You want to show off that you have nice clean furniture.  Plus, it’s an easy place to start cleaning and it will make the greatest impression on your guests.  For fabric, give your furniture a good vacuum to get rid of dust particles and spot treat any stains so that they do not appear dirty.  If you have leather furniture, make sure you use a cleaner that properly cleans and conditions leather so that your furniture looks as good and clean as the rest of your home. 

2. Dust

 

Get rid of dust and dirt with a damp cloth. Be sure to go over areas that are in your line of vision.  For example, fireplace mantel,stairs, counters, and banisters.  Or areas where you might be hiding an Easter egg.  

3. Clean Your Floors

 

If you are vacuuming furniture, might as well vacuum your floors.  If you have stubborn carpet stains, you should get your biannual carpet cleaning.  If you have natural stone and tile, you should clean up debris in the corners of your rooms.  The biannual cleanings for stone and tile will greatly reduce the accumulated dirt that seeps into your grout.  The sooner you address it, the easier it is to remove.

* Maybe Clean Your Yard (Optional)20170211_174657

If your guests will be outside, in your backyard, you’ll have to make sure that it’s clean and presentable.  It would be good to blow out yard clippings and patio area.  Plus, it reduces the amount of dirt that enters your home.

Ring out the Dirt this New Year!

holidaymess

Holiday fun left some lingering dirt and allergens around the house.  This year, how about adding to your home’s overall cleanliness as one of your New Year’s resolutions!  Here’s some tips for success: 

1. Shoes Stays in One Place

shoes

Taking your shoes off as soon as you enter your home, greatly reduces the debris in your home.  Just think your shoes have walked everywhere!  Even public bathrooms!  You don’t want to bring unnecessary bacteria, dirt, dust, and allergens to your home.  These particles are very attractive to insects who will enjoy residing in your flooring and comfy carpets.  This year, you might start by having a designated area to place them.  (Kudos to you if you already do this!)

 

 

2. Vacuum/Sweep More Often

Just a little pick up is helpful!  Try vacuuming/ sweeping or using your iRobot more rigorously in areas where there is heavier traffic on the weekends.  These are areas in front of the doors and walk ways.

 

3. Sweep before Mopping

If you don’t sweep before mopping, the dirt and debris can just get pushed around rather than actually cleaned.

4. Clean Up After Your Pets

20140512_191024
Ava Kissel and Kitten

Sometimes it’s too late to clean up after your pets.  You might find the smell of dry urine in your carpet days later.  Especially with a new liter of kittens.  How can you get upset at any pet that adorable!  Pet urine can ultimately damage your carpet.  If you can’t remove the odor and stain on your own, then it’s a good time to call Elite Floor and Furniture Cleaning.

5. Mats, mats, mats

While there’s no way to fully keep debris out, you can start with a mat inside as well as outside.  People need a place where they can brush off their shoes before tracking debris inside.  Mats at every entryway in your home are the best.  The more mats, the better.

Don’t skimp on choosing cheaper mats, either. You need thick mats and keep a backup mat, in case you need to switch out when one set gets too dirty. Clean the mats weekly.  Pictured below are some durable mats I cleaned.  Before on the left and after cleaning on the right.

6. Cleanliness is Healthy!

20170723_173531.jpg

Whatever your method is for eliminating dirt in your home, it’s important to keep it clean at all times.  Vacuuming removes dirt and dust, but many problem areas do not get the attention they deserve.

Problem areas are breeding grounds where dust and pollen accumulate which can trigger allergies and asthma.  Deep in your carpet or flooring, allergens and bacteria get trapped, thus, exposing you to them.

If you are someone who is sensitive to environmental allergens, biannual carpet or flooring cleanings would definitely be helpful to you!