The holidays are upon us, and amidst the hustle bustle of gatherings, guests – and of course shopping, it’s easy to become distracted and drop your guard. It’s well-known that crime spikes this time of year – and although many of us know the basics around holiday theft prevention, here’s six not-so-obvious but effective safety tips for the season to help protect your purchases, and your identity.
1. Be extra careful around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Both are very much on the porch pirates’ radar since these shopping bonanza days create abundant package theft opportunities. Make sure to take extra care with delivered goods on or around these days, and into the holiday shopping season.
2. Break down shipping boxes. Once you receive your packages and remove the goods, take a few minutes to break down the shipping boxes into smaller pieces so they can be discarded of discreetly. Large boxes from popular brands left curbside can clue thieves into what’s inside your home.
3. Mums the word on social media. However tempting it might be to share with friends through social media how you spent all day shopping for gifts, it’s best not to. Four out of five burglars used social networks last year to find out when people were not home. (Nationwide Insurance website.)
4. Dispose of debit card receipts carefully. While rushing to complete a purchase or pay a restaurant check, it’s easy to leave duplicate receipts behind. Try your best not to. What’s printed on these seemingly innocuous pieces of paper contain information that a savvy identity theft criminal might find useful. That also means keeping your wallet clear of receipts, too, in case it’s lost or stolen.
5. Use one credit card. Take or use only one credit card for holiday shopping. That way, if it’s lost or stolen, you only have to cancel one.
6. Place valuable items in your trunk before your next stop. We all know not to leave packages in plain sight in the car. But thieves pay attention to what gets loaded into car trunks too, especially during the holidays. If you plan on shopping in several places during one outing, it’s best to transfer goods to your trunk before you arrive at your next stop. That way, opportunistic observers won’t get to see you stashing your items.
If you have some common sense precautions you take during the holidays, please do share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.