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How to Stay Safe from Holiday Theft

Love the holidays? So do thieves, burglars, and pick-pockets. Reduce your risk of becoming a victim of theft this season with these tips from Domestic CEO.

By
Amanda Thomas,
November 27, 2014
Episode #135

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There's a lot to love about the holidays, including purchasing gifts for those we love and - we'll admit it! - receiving gifts, too. But you know who else loves the gifting aspect of this season? Thieves, burglars, and pick-pockets. And they don’t bother waiting for Santa to bring them presents - they help themselves.

If you don’t want to be a victim of holiday theft, follow some of these sensible tips for when you are shopping, traveling, and at home:.

When Shopping

  • Stow your purchases in the trunk, rather than in the backseat. Just like you window shop while walking through the mall, thieves window shop in parking lots, so a quick peek into your car shouldn’t show off all your new purchases. An empty back seat is less appealing than a backseat full of shopping bags.
  • If you need to drop bags off to your car mid-shopping, take a few extra minutes to actually move your car, too. If a would-be thief is sitting in the parking lot watching people come out of the mall, you loading your trunk with lots of bags before heading back in is going to get his attention. Move your car to the other side of the mall or another floor of the parking ramp to further hide your new treasures.
  • Park in a well-lit area. Cars that are under lights are less likely to be broken in to, because they are more visible.
  • Whenever possible, don’t shop alone. A solitary person walking through a parking lot can be an easy target. Try to have at least one other person with you, and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Get your keys out of your pocket or purse before leaving the store, so you aren’t fumbling around looking for them while standing in a parking lot, surrounded by your purchases.
  • Always lock your car doors. Lock them when you go in to the store, and immediately lock them once you are safely back in your car. And if you are waiting in the car while your spouse runs into a store, lock the doors then, too! A running car in a parking lot can look tempting to someone who wants to attempt a carjacking. While locked doors won’t prevent everything, they may buy you an extra couple seconds to start honking your horn and create a scene.
  •  If you see someone suspicious in a parking lot, alert the store immediately. Stores want you to feel safe when in their parking lots, so their security will gladly come out to take a look.
  • Carry minimal cash when out shopping, and take along only the debit or credit card you intend to use. That way, if someone does snatch your purse, they aren’t getting away with your entire life.
  • If you are making purchases with your debit card, opt to have it processed as a credit transaction, instead, if possible. A new scam involves infrared readers that can attach to cell phones, allowing thieves to read your pin number right off the keypad, just seconds after you’ve typed it in. If they also manage to steal your card, they’ve will have everything they need to tap into your account.
  • Carry cash and cards in a deep front pocket, or in a cross-body purse that’s closed or zipped shut. Pick-pockets are very good at what they do, so create as many barriers as possible between them and your money.
  • If you keep your house keys on your person, keep them in your pocket instead of your purse. That way your license, which has your home address on it, and your house keys are separated. It’s unnerving enough to have your wallet snatched, but knowing that a thief has your home address and the way into your home is absolutely terrifying.
  • If your purse or wallet does get snatched, immediately call your banks to cancel your credit cards. If your keys were stolen too, schedule a rekey of your home as soon as possible. Even if you have an extra key, or you don’t think your home address was anywhere in your purse, you don’t want to be worrying that someone can let themselves into your home. Peace of mind is worth the cost of a rekey.

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