Don’t Let Thieves Steal Your Holiday Spirit
Some insight on theft from our trusted partners at Travelers Insurance:
The 2014 holiday season is upon us. Many people will spend time shopping in stores and online for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. While it is easy to get caught up in the fun of it all, it’s important to remember that with increased purchasing comes heightened risk of theft.
Throughout the holiday season, thieves are on the lookout for packages left in your car or outside your home. In fact, Travelers claim data shows that, on average, more thefts occur on Black Friday than on any other day of the year. Personal identity theft can also increase this time of year. Travelers wants to ensure you and your clients remain safe while checking things off your shopping list.
Beware of porch pirating when having packages delivered to your home. Porch pirating is when a theft steals packages from your doorstep or porch. Thieves follow delivery trucks to identify targets and commonly strike during the week when homes are empty. To help avoid this situation, when possible, have your packages delivered to a location where they can be received in person, such as a neighbor’s or relative’s house. If your employer allows it, consider having your package delivered to work.
When making a purchase online, if the retailer provides the option, choose a specific delivery time. If purchasing from a larger retailer, consider having your package delivered to a local store for pick-up. Take advantage of delivery alerts so you can be notified when a package arrives at your home. If you are not available to pick it up, ask a trusted neighbor to take your package inside for safekeeping.
When possible, request the delivery company to hold your package at their closest pick-up facility until you can pick it up. You also can ask the shipper to require a signature confirmation of delivery in order to prevent packages being left when no one is home to sign for them. It also is helpful to provide delivery instructions so packages can be left out of sight from your yard or the road.
Parking Lot Pilfering
Your parked vehicle can be a prime target for thieves. They often will break windows or punch locks to gain access to items left in plain view. Open windows and unlocked doors also can make your car an easy target. To help reduce the risk of theft from your vehicle, always lock your doors, even if you are quickly running in somewhere, and be sure to put the windows up in your car when leaving it unattended.
Park your vehicle in well-lit, high-traffic areas and away from larger vehicles or shrubs. Thieves can target cars in isolated areas in order to “work” without drawing attention.
Do not keep any items – including your purse or wallet – in plain view. Clearly visible items can catch the eye of a thief. Be sure to stow and secure all items prior to reaching your destination. Thieves often watch parking lots for people stowing items in their trunk. Also, be sure to remove any portable accessories, such as GPS units and stereo faceplates, when leaving your car.
Personal ID Theft
About 60 percent of Americans worry about identity theft, according to the 2014 Travelers Consumer Risk Index, and the holidays are a prime time for thieves to target their victims. To help reduce the chances of falling victim to ID theft, keep the amount of personal information you carry in your wallet or purse at a minimum. Always take credit card and ATM receipts. Do not throw them into public trash containers or leave them on the counter as thieves can pick up the receipt.
Guard your credit card or debit card when making purchases or using an ATM machine. Shield your hand when typing in personal identification numbers. It is critical to always be aware of who is around you, as some identity thieves have been known to copy credit card information or even use cellphone cameras to snap pictures of cards.
The holidays should be a happy time, and taking these steps to help safeguard your personal information and belongings may help avoid a major mishap.