By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What should you consider when you hire a house sitter or ask a neighbor to look after your property?

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A house sitter in British Columbia, Canada knew he shouldn’t smoke inside the house he was watching. So he went out to smoke on the wood deck. Which he set on fire. Which spread to the siding, Which spread to the roof. Which caused $50,000 in damage.

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As the owner of the burnt house learned the hard way, you need to be really specific about the rules of your home, like where NOT to smoke, what property to watch (like the pets and the plants) and what you don’t want him to touch (like the car) because it will be your homeowners policy and your car insurance that will be on the hook for the damage done.

And here’s something else to consider: one of the most prevalent identity theft schemes involves filling out unsolicited credit card applications that come to another’s mailbox. So be very careful if you’re having a house sitter – or even a neighbor – collect your mail because you don’t want an application either to sit in your mailbox or fall into the wrong hands.

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The safest option is to have the post office stop mail delivery so you don’t get burned.