It's the most wonderful time of the year! However due to a few factors, the holiday season sees a spike in certain crimes. For starters, it's winter, so it gets darker earlier, and stays dark longer. Robbers and burglars may take advantage of this meaning less witnesses or not being easily detected. Also, people are more likely to have valuables on their person or at home, due to the gift-giving season. Robbers will prey on people leaving stores carrying expensive gifts, or target homes where the gifts are being kept and packages are being delivered. Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim this holiday season!
Be a smart shopper
- Try to shop during daylight hours. If this is not possible, try and go shopping with a buddy or a few other people. If you are by yourself at night, park in a well-light, visible area.
- Leave your arms as free as possible going to and from the store. Ask an employee for assistance if you have a lot of bags or boxes. If someone tries to attack you, you want to be able to fight back.
- When in the parking lot, do not fiddle with your wallet or purse. Keep your wallet closed and secured, either in a front pocket or in a purse, and hold the purse firmly. Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Check the area around and underneath your car, as well as the backseat before getting in.
- When entering your vehicle, immediately shut and lock the doors and drive away. Do not sit in the front seat and look at your receipts or put your change away. Focus on getting to the next location safely.
- When coming home, close the garage door immediately behind you if you park in your own garage.
Keep your home safe
- Store gifts away from sight (keep away from windows, doors, etc.)
- Keep your entrances and exits well-lit (if you decorate for Christmas, this is a great excuse to put on some super bright Christmas lights!)
- Keep your bushes trimmed so prowlers don't have any coverage to hide
- Always always always lock your windows and doors, and keep your garage door shut, even if you are home (you don't want anyone to just walk in!)
- Do not show off your valuable purchases on social media, as this may alert others that you have profitable items in your home (especially if your accounts are not private)
- Also be weary of strangers who come by your house; the season invites carolers and people collecting for charity, but they could also be scoping out your home to see what sort of valuables you have, what sort of security you have, etc., so it's a good idea to keep valuable objects tucked safely away
- After the holidays, throw name-brand boxes or boxes that give people a good idea of what was inside (probably not a good idea to let the whole neighborhood know you got a new TV by leaving the box outside on the curb) in a plastic trash bag, and don't leave them on the curb in plain sight for pickup
Protect yourself from porch pirates
- If you can, have a trusted friend or neighbor or a family member collect your package if you are unable to be home when it is being delivered
- Place items on your porch (small statues, decorations, plants), so that the person delivering your package can place it behind an object that conceals its view, so its not as easily visible from the street
- Consider investing in Ring or a similar security device (it may help deter would-be-porch-pirates, or at the very least may be useful for police in the event your package is stolen)
- If you have a very expensive or valuable package, have it delivered to a trusted family member, or pick it up from a UPS store or the post office if you absolutely cannot be home to receive it
Guard your identity and finances when shopping onlinePexels
- Only go to websites you trust
- Install an anti-virus software, like Norton or MacAfee (some software will even alert you if you're on a sketchy website)
- NEVER save your credit card information- unfortunately even major corporations get hacked, and cybercriminals then have access to your credit card information
- It's also the season of giving, but be very careful if donating to charities online- do your research and make sure it is a legitimate charitable foundation, where your hard-earned money actually benefits people or animals in need
- Frequently monitor your accounts- if you see any suspicious activity, report it immediately
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