The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. After all, it isn’t unusual to leave our draperies open, and new or unopened gifts in full view from a window or door. This simple yet careless action is an invitation to a thief. The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.
Warn the kids: Facebook and Twitter can increase the odds of getting robbed. That’s because the open broadcasting of one’s holiday plans, whereabouts, purchases and other personal information creates a field day for professional burglars. They call it “Internet Shopping for Burglars,” and it has become an incredibly easy way for them to target victims from the comfort of their sofa.
Answering the Door:
- Burglars sometimes pose as couriers, scoping out the home from the front door.
- Burglars will also comb the neighborhood on trash day–looking for telltale signs of expensive electronic gifts. Cut boxes open and turn them inside out to keep from advertising your new electronic goodies.
- It is not uncommon for criminals to solicit door-to-door for nonexistent charities. Ask for literature, check them out later, and donate once you’re satisfied they are legitimate.
- Beware of charities that claim to raise funds for local fire fighters or police. Check their authenticity before offering money.
To check the authenticity of a charitable organization, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov. Type “Publication 78” in the search box then type in the name of the organization.
On the Internet: There are numerous Internet scams popping up this time of year, and this month’s Homeowner’s Report addresses a number of them in detail. However, the “Phony Package Delivery” is one of the easiest to fall for because it looks so real. You receive an email about a package delivery but if you click on the link, you may download any number of malicious computer infections. If you receive an email you weren’t expecting, do not click on any links inside the email, even if you are expecting a package. Go to the USPS, UPS or FedEx website directly to get any delivery information.
Call me for a copy of this month’s Report!