Saturday, December 12, 2015

Don't Be a Victim of Christmas Crime

The media and police are warning consumers to use caution and common sense when shopping during this holiday season. The holiday seasons are one of the highest crime periods of the year. 

Although the unemployment rate is down to 5 percent many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet. Some Americans are only working part-time or minimum wage this holiday season and thieves are more desperate than ever. A spike in crime occurred across the country on Black Friday just after Thanksgiving and usually continues through New Year’s Day. Last year someone broke into my car on New Year’s Day. The police officer who responded stated that many crimes occur on New Year’s Day.

Some of the common crimes are:
  • Stealing gas while you are at the gas station
  • Car theft/carjacking
  • Pickpockets
  • Snatch and grab
  • Stealing grocery carts full of groceries when the customer walks to get their car
  • Stealing packages from homeowners porches
  • Employees stealing from customers or from the office
  • Stealing money and gift cards in postal mail
  • Workers stealing water or electricity when rehabbing a home
  • Scams
  • Identity theft
  • Fake car trouble – pulling beside a driver telling them something is wrong with their car and they need to pull over
  • Home burglaries

Don’t be a victim this holiday season. It is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t think you are immune to theft. Even the best protection systems or deterrents will not stop a thief who is determined to rob someone. Always be aware of your surroundings. Criminals also steal from people they know. Here are 41 tips to reduce your chances of being a victim this holiday season.

  1. Don’t leave your car unlocked or your trunk open at any time.
  2. Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the inside of your car and around the car before getting in. Get in your car quickly. Lock your doors as soon as you get in the car.
  3. Don't leave anything in your car.
  4. Buy gas during the daytime.
  5. Be on guard when riding in taxis, Uber or Lyft, many taxi drivers get robbed during the holidays and some drivers have kidnapped riders.
  6. Don't park near a van or truck that obstructs your vision especially at night.
  7. Don't fall for scams when someone asks you to walk away from your car to help them.
  8. Beware of people approaching you in parking lots or outside stores.
  9. Drive defensively.

  1. Lock all the doors and windows at your home when you are at home and away from home.
  2. If you go out of town, use a timer on your lights. You can also have a friend or relative house sit while you are out of town.
  3. If you go out of town, hold your mail at your local post office.
  4. If you come home when it's dark outside talk on your cell phone until you get in the house and lock the door.
  5. Turn the porch light on if you know you will arrive home after dark.
  6. Install security cameras at your front and back doors.
  7. Ask neighbors to keep an eye out for you and your home.

  1. Don't discuss your salary, where you live or where you go shopping.  You make spark the interest of a potential criminal or actual criminal.
  2. Don't use the ATM in a secluded, poorly lit area or at night. 
  3. Don't carry your social security card or birth certificate card in your wallet.
  4. Don't carry your checkbook unless you know you will write a check that day.
  5. Only carry cash and possibly one credit card or your debit card.
  6. Don’t give out your personal information via email or over the phone to strangers.
  7. If you order checks have them delivered to your bank.

  1. Leave the mall before gets dark. If you are a woman, ask a mall security guard to walk you to your car.
  2. Don't go shopping when it’s dark but if you have to, go shopping with a friend or two.
  3. When walking, shopping or driving use your Bluetooth.  
  4. If you will be away from home get packages delivered to a neighbor’s house.
  5. Ship packages that contains items of value with insurance and delivery confirmation.
  6. Only carry the credit cards you need and minimal cash when shopping. Don’t flash your credit cards or money.
  7. Do not buy more than you can carry. Take a friend with you or ask a store security guard to help you carry your packages to your car.
  8. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise such as prepaid cards.
  9. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
Online Shopping
  1. Install security software and keep it up-to-date.
  2. Delete spam messages. Don’t respond to messages asking to verify your personal identity.
  3. Use caution when clicking on advertisements.
  4. Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
  5. Shop with companies you know and trust.

  1. Avoid taking your trash out late at night.
  2. Tear up boxes that contained expensive gifts and put them in a separate trash bag to deter thieves that may go through your trash.

Be safe this holiday!


faryal naaz said...

Nice article. This is so much more than I needed! But will all come in use thanks!
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