Protect Yourself from Crime This Christmas
It’s a well-known fact that Christmas is associated with a higher crime rate. Unfortunately, lurking among the innocent Christmas carolers, shoppers, friends, and family that surround you during the holidays are people who could pose a threat to you and your property. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from crime this Christmas.
Like many people, you might try to squeeze in a purchase or two during your lunch hour or commute to or from work. Nowadays, free WiFi is available in many locations, which makes this easier to do. This freebie is anything but a bargain, though, as these connections are often insecure, enabling thieves to steal your information.
To protect yourself from crime while shopping online:
- Always access the internet using a secure connection.
- Shop online only at secure sites (ones that start with ‘https’).
- If given the choice, use a credit card over a debit card when shopping because a credit card usually offers better protection.
- Review your transactions daily to quickly catch any irregular or illegal activity.
Parking lots are a prime target for thieves. Thieves go from vehicle to vehicle looking for some Christmas presents or other goodies that they can make their own. An unlocked vehicle is an easy target, but a thief won’t hesitate to do a smash-and-grab if he or she sees something valuable in a locked car either. Aside from common thieves, you also have to be aware of the potential for a confrontation: someone who sees you fumbling with your money and keys may hold you up with a weapon.
To protect yourself from crime in a parking lot:
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid shopping at night or parking in areas with poor lighting.
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times and remove any items from view that may tempt would-be thieves.
- Consider using the buddy system so that you have a companion with you at all times.
- Carry only minimal cash and use it discreetly while shopping.
- Once outside of the store, walk with purpose toward your vehicle.
- Have your keys ready.
- Don’t rummage through your purse until you are inside your vehicle, with the doors locked.
The consumer site MarketWatch reports that about 23 million Americans have had a package stolen from their front door. With more packages delivered during Christmas and the holiday season than at any other time of year, those unattended packages are easy targets for thieves. Some crime rings work together specifically looking for packages on doorsteps and/or holiday cards in mailboxes that they can steal.
To keep your Christmas deliveries safe:
- If possible, schedule deliveries for a time when you will actually be home, or have the delivery made to your workplace.
- Use a concierge services that offers additional delivery options.
- Speak with your regular delivery person or mail carrier about alternative locations where it may be safer to place your items.
- After the holidays, dispose of any trash discreetly so the thieves don’t know what you got for Christmas (like that 60” flat screen TV).
Another target for holiday thieves is an unattended home. You may inadvertently show that you are going out of town by loading up your vehicle or a taxi with suitcases. These days, many people broadcast their vacation plans on social media, too – which is just inviting disaster. Other signals to a thief that a home might be vacant are signs of neglect, such as an overflowing mailbox, unkempt lawn, or a snowy path.
To keep your home safe while you’re away:
- Arrange for someone to check your mail and look after your yard.
- Use timers to turn your lights on and off at varying times, giving your home a lived-in look.
- Don’t broadcast your vacation plans on social media.
- If you want to share your holiday photos on social media, wait until you’re back home again before doing so.
With so much going on during the holidays, you may have extra people around your house who would not be there otherwise, such as a new babysitter, handyman, caterer, or cleaning help. These individuals may try to take advantage of their position by stealing your belongings.
To protect yourself:
- Check references before you hire someone.
- Consider getting a comprehensive background check on anyone who will have access to you, your home, or your family.
To learn more about how Linked Investigations can help protect you from being a victim of holiday crime, call us at 877-464-5374 or use our convenient contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation.