Protect yourself against theft this holiday season
The holidays should be a time of celebration, love, and good cheer. However, for some, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the distractions that come with the season through predatory crimes like burglaries, purse snatching, robberies and porch theft. However, with a little forethought and planning, you can avoid being a statistic this holiday season.
Lock it up
- Take only one credit card with you and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Don’t leave your purse in your shopping cart or on a counter – not even for a moment.
- Don’t leave your belongings unattended on a table or chair beside you in a restaurant.
- Make photocopies of the important things in your purse like a driver’s license and credit cards and leave the copies in a secured place at home. If your wallet or purse gets snatched or stolen, you’ll have records of important information.
If the worst happens, keep these phone numbers handy so you can cancel your credit cards immediately
- MasterCard: 1-800-MC-ASSIST (622-7747)
- Visa: 1-800-VISA-911 (847-2911)
- American Express: 1-800-528-4800
- Discover: 1-800-DISCOVER (347-2683)
- PayPal: 1-888-221-1161
Thwart Porch Pirates
With internet shopping on the rise, so follows an increase in so-called “Porch pirates,” criminals who steal packages left on one’s front porch. Almost one in four U.S. adults (24%) say they’ve had a package stolen, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers by Aurora, Ill.-based Shorr Packaging Corp.
There are several ways to protect yourself from this type of theft:
- Have all packages sent with a signature required for delivery.
- If packages are usually delivered when there is no one home to accept them, you can request that the post office or private carrier hold your packages rather than leave them unattended at the door, or have them delivered to someone you know will be home.
- Internet-enabled doorbells and outdoor surveillance cameras may also deter someone from stealing packages from your doorstep.
- Several internet outlets, like Amazon, have secure delivery lockers located in retail establishments like Whole Foods, Stein Mart, malls, or offices. A code is provided to you when the package is delivered for easy retrieval.
Secure your luggage while traveling
- Keep your valuables under lock and key with a TSA lock for your suitcase. ‘Travel Sentry Approved’ (TSA) basically means if airport security needs to inspect your luggage, they won’t need to break your favorite wheelie suitcase open in the process, as TSA locks can be opened by security personnel with no damage to the lock or your travel bags.
- Trace Me Airline-Approved Luggage Tracker Tags - Shake off that sinking feeling when your luggage fails to appear on the conveyor belt – with one of these tracking tags, you won’t need to worry about your baggage going missing forever. Register your tags on the database before you fly off and secure them to your suitcase. If your bags are found where they’re not supposed to be, all the airline has to do is contact Trace Me to find out your contact details and reunite you with your stuff.
Be vigilant after Christmass
After you have opened your gifts, there are other strategies you can employ to protect yourself from crime. Break down and hide boxes that clearly state what was packaged inside them. Thieves will often travel around neighborhoods to see where boxes of big screen televisions, gaming systems or other expensive gifts may have been opened Christmas morning, and then return when no one is home to burglarize the property.