With an ever-increasing trend towards online shopping, it’s important to make sure you exercise common sense when making online purchases. With the increase in online activity comes increased risk to consumers because of the large volumes of information, products, and money exchanged, which are an irresistible lure to criminals seeking gain through fraud or theft.
Here are some suggestions shared with us on some precautions you can take to protect your and your family this holiday season.
Spotlight: Theft and Burglary Precautions
It’s a season of giving – and taking. December is filled with frenzied shopping and holiday parties but it is also a time when financial distress, desperation and opportunity create a perfect season for a crime. During the holiday season, among the Christmas shopping, holiday parties, church services, and family outings there are thieves watching and waiting for their chance to take advantage of you and steal your belongings. Whether you are shopping at the mall or planning a ski trip, these tips can help prevent theft from happening to you!
While you are shopping:
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Hide valuables and other shopping bag purchases in the trunk of your car.
- Don’t leave your vehicle open while you take items in at home.
- Lock your car doors, even when parked at home.
- Be careful what you put on Facebook this holiday season. If you have posted your Christmas list online or if you have stated that the gifts are under the tree, this is bait for burglars
- If you are having packages delivered, see if the shipping company will allow you to specify a delivery time when you will be home or will hold them at their local office. Criminals often follow delivery vehicles looking for unattended packages to snatch.
If you’ll be away from home:
- Don’t let mail or papers stack-up. Stop mail and newspaper delivery while you are away.
- Let a neighbor know you will be gone and that there will be no one coming and going from your home.
- Place your Christmas lights and an inside TV on a timing system so the house does not stay dark and it sounds like someone is home.
- Make sure all your doors and windows are locked.
- Never leave a note on your door indicating you are gone and don’t leave a hidden key outside.
- Install outside exterior motion lighting.
- Forward your home phone calls to your cell. Thieves will sometimes call your home to see if you are there.
- Posting your plans online and how long you are going to be gone can present a serious problem. “What you are buying”, “who you’re with” and “where you are” posts leave you and your home open for burglary.
- Many city and county law enforcement departments offer free property checks. Contact your local law enforcement to see if this service is offered. If you do sign up, don’t forget to tell them if you will have someone else checking on your home as well.
- Think twice before you ‘post’ that you are going to a holiday party so you aren’t advertising your away hours.
After Christmas, do not advertise expensive gifts you’ve received by placing the empty boxes out on the curb in plain sight for trash and recycle pickup. Break the boxes into small pieces and place in the bottom of the can. Home burglaries andtheft of your valuables can happen to the most prudent. Preventing theftcan be just a matter of taking a few extra steps. Following these tips will reduce the odds that a thief will do their holiday shopping from your belongings this year.