The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family, but the hectic pace can also make it a stressful time of year. The holidays can present increased risks, especially if you are on a quest for gifts. Overcrowded stores and an increase in online shopping offer greater opportunities for thieves to target your valuables.
Here are four tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
- Watch Out for Porch Pirates: As more consumers look to the web to make their holiday purchases, packages dropped off on front porches and stoops provide “porch pirates,” or thieves, with more opportunity to intercept home deliveries. When making a purchase online, take advantage of electronic delivery alerts and other protections to make sure your gifts are safely delivered – and received. It may also be helpful to instruct any delivery drivers to drop off packages in a safe location at a specific time, or opt to pick up any delivered items yourself from the nearest facility.
- Beware of Parking Lot Pilfering: While you are in the mall purchasing gifts for your friends and family, be careful if you decide to drop off items in your car mid-shopping trip. Purchases that you store in your car may catch the attention of thieves roaming through the parking lot in search of valuable items in unlocked cars. To help protect your car (and everything inside) from burglars during the holidays, shoppers should remember to always lock their doors, roll up their windows, park in well-lit areas and hide valuables from plain view.
- Protect Your Identity, Both Online and in Stores: Before you go shopping, think about how much information a thief would get his hands on if your wallet or purse was stolen. Taking steps to protect your personal information, particularly during the holiday season when many stores see an increase in foot traffic, is key to preventing identity theft. Carry only those credit cards you need and avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports unless absolutely necessary. When shopping online, be sure to only use secure websites, log off from a site after you have completed your purchase, and monitor your bank accounts and credit card activity regularly throughout the holidays.
- Travel Safely: Whether you are heading to the mall for some holiday shopping or traveling to Grandma’s for a holiday celebration, the holiday season brings a number of unique driving risks – from changing weather conditions to traveling on unfamiliar roads. By planning extra travel time and eliminating distractions, you can help ensure safe travels during the holidays.