The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, bit it can also be a buys season for thefts. In December alone, there is an increase of 20% in burglaries. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to make sure that you and your belongings stay safe through the holiday season and beyond. Some of these may seem obvious, but can make a big difference for potential thefts!
1. Keep your car safe from break-ins & thefts.
When you are out shopping, it’s easy to throw your packages in the backseat and hop over to the next store on your list. Often our focus is on getting those last minute gifts, so much so that we forget that all of our purchases are on display to the world. Although you may be in a store for a few minutes, that can be enough time for thief’s to strike. To deter potential break-ins try parking in a well-lit and traveled areas, place valuables out of site in the trunk of your vehicle and ensure once you are home to bring them in safely. Finally, car doors need to be locked once everyone is in the vehicle before heading out to ensure unwanted visitors are not entering your vehicle.
2. Keep your information safe when shopping online.
To keep your non-tangible goods safe this holiday season, use caution when making purchases online. Ensure those websites you are visiting are legitimate and not pages imitating your favourite brands. Monitor online banking, PayPal and sites with preauthorized credit card information in case something odd comes up. Use caution when you see emails claiming to provide shipping confirmation, especially if they ask you to open a file attachment. To verify the sender, hover over the from display name to see what email address pops up. It is common to see a display name that does not match the sender address. Always ensure the spelling of the brand/company is correct. Our brains are very good at adding letters that are missing to make what we are looking at make sense!
3. Prevent crime when sending gifts.
If you are sending gifts in the mail, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your package gets to your loved ones. Choose to not send cash in the mail and opt for other ways to send money such as etransfers. Maintain communication with your recipient to ensure they have received the parcel in the timeline that was provided to you. If your package is higher in value, consider using registered mail or courier services, this way the parcel has tracking information and is insured if something goes wrong. Avoid those awkward, “but I sent it in the mail” conversations!
4. Keep your home safe from break-ins.
Visitors during the holiday season is most often a given, but sometimes unwelcomed guests show up. No I’m not talking about cousin Ed with his camper on your lawn, thief’s are what you need to be worried about. Be mindful of where you place gifts and stay away from displaying them in a window or doorway. Choose a place that’s not able to be viewed from the outside of your home. Put any ladders used when decorating away to ensure thief’s aren’t able to use it to get into windows.
5. Prevent crime by securing your home before you go away.
A lived in home may deter thieves from attempting to enter your home. We aren’t saying that you have to have a life-size cut out of Michael Jordan dancing around your living room in Home Alone style, but it is best to not have a pitch black home throughout the holidays if you are going to be away. Leaving lights, TV or radio on (or even better, on a timer) will make it seem that you’re home even if you’re not. Neighbours are also an awesome resource this time of year to keep an eye on your home, shovel walkways and collect any mail that may pile up at your door. Insurance Tip: Make sure to check your home insurance policy to find out how often your home needs to be checked in order to maintain your coverage. We are always here to help you find out that information for you as well!
6. Keep your travel plans offline.
Although you may be excited about an upcoming holiday either heading out to take advantage of the winter weather or escaping to a tropical destination, it is best to keep that information off social media. Better to air on the side of caution and share your amazing holiday once you’re back. It may not seem like you’re giving much information away, but thief’s can piece together information to determine a timeline when you will be done. Better to end your holiday on a high note by coming back to your beautiful home and then share those awesome memories!
7. Keeping your packages from porch pirates.
Porch pirates are unfortunately a big worry especially during the holiday season. Between packages you buy for others and maybe a few for yourself, they can pile up quickly. Most sites provide tracking information so it is best to monitor those updates to know exactly when your packages are going to be delivered. Arrangements can be made so other individuals can accept those packages on your behalf. If you aren’t able to make arrangements, you can request an alternate delivery date. Leave pirates for the high seas and not your porch!
8. Keep your new gifts safe – post holidays.
Thief’s know that many homes will have new items, oftentimes expensive, in their homes after the holidays. Something that we may not think about is out garbage and recycling is a key indicator of what is new to our homes. By putting boxes out that identify new gifts, burglars may take interest in your home and in turn, take that awesome gift you had been waiting all year for. A way to keep your belongings safe is to break down any boxes you are throwing out/recycling and place them either at the bottom of the container or in bags that disguise the box. Not all boxes need to be discarded; you may want to consider keeping boxes, especially for electronics, for safe storage and ease of moving in the future. If you run out of room, you can always take extras to recycling depots in your area.
We hope these tips help you and your loved ones this holiday season and keep those special gifts safe! From the MIG Team, happy holidays.