Monday, March 27, 2023

We all love one-stop shopping; finding everything we need without having to tirelessly comb through multiple locations is something that everyone can appreciate. This exists for food, clothes and other supplies, and now, thanks to GettingSafer, an innovative website created by Teaneck resident Richard Watson, we have it for something extremely close to all of our hearts: the health, safety and security of ourselves and our family.

GettingSafer is a comprehensive online personal-and-digital-safety resource designed to equip people to deal with anything life throws their way. It has services, information and financial and legal advice on a wider range of topics than any other resource, covering climate, home and travel safety, health, terrorism, cyber security, ID theft, pet protection and more.

“You can’t find this information yourself unless you want to spend considerable time searching the web, and then continually checking to stay up to date. So what we (GettingSafer) are doing is bringing everything together,” Watson explained. “So you don’t have to spend your life looking for this stuff. We keep it all updated.”

Watson was inspired to create GettingSafer after his family had a safety scare of their own. At the time of 9/11, a close family member was working in a building right next to the World Trade Center. Fortunately, he was okay, but was unable to contact anyone for a significant amount of time because his phone did not have a signal. Watson vividly recalls that terrifying time of uncertainty, as well as the panic of others whose loved ones were not as fortunate. “People whose family members were lost in the devastation were being asked for identity material... to identify bodies. Families were being asked to bring DNA samples, and information, and people did not know what kind of access they had to these things,” Watson said.

Watson was struck by the fact that so many people, on top of having to deal with unspeakable tragedy, were so unprepared for the legal and technical aftermath of their losses. “It kept weighing on my mind that most people don’t really have their affairs in order. And it may not be a terrorist attack, it may just be that... there’s somebody driving on the highway in the wrong direction, and a husband and wife’s lives are destroyed. So what do the children do? What information is left for them, so that people understand what needs to be done, or what assets there are?” he said. It was from these questions that GettingSafer was born. “We want to help people get themselves organized in a non-frightening way, and help them when it comes to neighborhood safety, and everything else,” Watson explained.

GettingSafer particularly specializes in cybersecurity, a key safety element today. “Virtually everyone in this country has been hacked one way or another,” Watson said. “All of our information is out there, and it’s purely a matter of time before someone decides to target you.” GettingSafer’s ID Theft Program provides protection in a way that others do not. Firstly, while most other programs charge about seven dollars a month per child, GettingSafer covers up to 10 dependent children, free of charge. Even if the child is living at college, as long as their home address is still their parents’, they are still included. Additionally, as Watson explained, many better-known companies lure you in with a “10-cent deal,” which provides little more than credit monitoring, which is done by credit agencies anyway. In contrast, GettingSafer only offers a premium program with the utmost protection and quality. “We believe in the best, and that’s the only one we offer,” Watson said firmly.

GettingSafer’s ID Theft Program’s monthly rates start at $26.99 for individuals, and $35.99 for families. There is a 30-day free trial available on their website, and a 10-percent discount if you use the coupon code “LINK.”

The rest of the website’s features are primarily free. The site is found at gettingsafer.com, and in order to access the full range of features, you can create an account and log in. There, you will see the extensive list of safety topics, with a series of articles written by experts with advice including tips, tricks, common mistakes and easy shortcuts for each particular topic. For example, one article discusses the little-known fact that most residential break-ins actually occur during the day, through the often overlooked open garage door. Another reminds parents with young children to adjust the temperature of their water heater, as a remarkable number of emergency visits every year are caused by children who have scalded themselves in the tub. These are only two of a growing multitude of articles full of helpful information that, when taken to heart, can save lots of money, stress and even lives.

The site also has a page that brings you directly to a wide array of services, with numerous companies and brands of health insurance, legal services, pet and tech services and products, medical alert systems and senior services. When purchasing these services through GettingSafer’s website, without any increase in cost, a small commission goes to GettingSafer. As an acknowledgment of the sacrifices made to protect us all, a percentage of GettingSafer’s net revenue is donated to an organization called MCLEF (Marine Corp-Law Enforcement), which provides scholarships for children of first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed in the line of duty.

“We just want people to be safer... to make people more and more aware of what they can do for themselves, and to not have to rely on emergency rooms, and calling the police for situations that could have been avoided,” Watson said. “Whatever we can do to promote that, we will do it on our site.”

Watson hopes that GettingSafer will not only help educate and protect the individuals who use it, but will also spark conversations and spread ideas through the community. “The way we structure this, with so much free information... one particular person may not be reading everything, but in the Jewish community, people are meeting on Shabbos, or whenever, and they can talk about the things they know,” he said.

Watson added that he welcomes and appreciates feedback, and encourages everyone to send any questions, comments or ideas to [email protected].

By Rachel Retter


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