It’s that time of year; bells are ringing, children singing, and thieves are looking for easy targets. Like Kevin McAllister discovered in Home Alone, greedy bandits will steal just about anything – cars, decorations, purses, and maybe even your identity. Of course, what many of them are after are the shiny new gifts going under the tree. Though thousands of people fall victim to holiday theft, you don’t have to be one of them. Keep reading to learn how to keep a Grinch from stealing your Christmas.
Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle
It might seem convenient to drop off gifts at your car as you make your way from store to store. Unfortunately, thieves break into thousands of vehicles every year in search of electronics, jewelry, and other expensive goods. As a rule of thumb, always park in well-lit areas, lock your doors, and keep any store bags and other belongings tucked out of sight. Remember, car insurance typically doesn’t cover personal items stolen from your vehicle, but they may have limited coverage under your renters or homeowners policy.
Keep Porch Pirates at Bay
More people are using the Internet to shop for holiday gifts than ever before. As convenient as online shopping may be, it might put your deliveries at risk if they are left unattended on your doorstep. Though police are on the lookout for porch burglaries, you may be able to avoid having your items stolen altogether. Some online retailers offer free shipping to local stores, and just this year, retail giant Amazon began allowing consumers to have deliveries shipped to local ‘lockers’ for pick-up.
Stay Home (Or At Least Look Like You’re Home)
An unattended property is an easy target for a thief who isn’t looking for a fight. If you plan to be away from home – even for a couple of days – take steps to make your house look occupied. Try connecting lamps and Christmas lights to a timer that goes on and off and different times each day. You can also enlist a neighbor’s help to check on your property and retrieve your mail. Most importantly, make sure all of your windows and doors are locked, and your alarm is set before leaving home.
Share, but Not Too Much
Social media is a big part of our current culture, and for many people, it is a way to share in holiday merriment with friends and family throughout the season. In a season of giving and sharing, online privacy might be the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately, that could be making you vulnerable to opportunistic crooks that cannot wait to rob you blind. This is the time of year when thieves comb through social media for potential targets.
Whether you are checking in at a destination away from home or sharing pictures of all the presents you received, think twice before sharing this personal information. It also can’t hurt to do a quick review of your social media privacy settings to ensure only the people you approve are seeing your posts. You can also scan your friends list to ensure you personally know everyone within your social media network.
Make Sure Expensive Goods are Insured
Affordable car insurance and home insurance can offer excellent coverage, often with standard protection for the theft of your vehicle or personal belongings. However, certain types of property including big-ticket items, such as a new diamond ring, might exceed the coverage limitations on your policy. Check with your agent after making a major purchase to make sure it is covered properly.