It’s that time of year again. As Santa loads up his sleigh, scammers, burglars, and crooks are scheming to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. From gifts to cars and personal information, it seems that everything we hold near and dear is at risk during the holidays. While this season may be about more than things, no one wants to fall prey to opportunistic thieves. Continue reading to learn the ways you may be vulnerable and what you can do to keep your holiday cheer from turning to tears.
Holiday Gifts & Returns
‘Tis the season to be generous, but beware of bandits hoping to take advantage of your good nature. Your purchases could be a target, whether you shop at brick-and-mortar stores or order online. While browsing shops, avoid storing purchases in your vehicle, where they may be an easy target for a quick getaway. If you must keep valuables in your car, store them in the trunk out of site. If you shop online, be proactive about where you send your shipments. Consider utilizing free shipping to your local store or to a local storage locker for pickup. If items must come to your home, request a signature for delivery or have the package delivered to someone else’s home if you are typically at work during the day.
Also, keep your guard up against counterfeiters. Every year, good-intentioned consumers looking for a bargain get duped into purchasing knock-off merchandise being marketed as the real thing. This is particularly the case of items that are very expensive or difficult to find. With scams rampant this time of year, keep one thing in mind: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Your home is a potential target for thieves year-round, but the holidays often make it easier for thieves to strike. Just as the ‘Wet Bandits’ staked out the McAllister house in Home Alone, burglars often wait until a homeowner has traveled out of town to break in. Before you leave, make sure to hook your lights up to timers that will automatically turn them off and on. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail, and avoid advertising your travel plans or checking-in to out-of-town locations on social media.
Also, don’t let your guard down just because Christmas is over. Believe it or not, December home break-ins tend to peak the week after Christmas. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these cases are never solved and the items stolen are never recovered. If you do find yourself the victim of a home break-in, contact your local police department and talk to your independent agent to know the steps you need to take to file a claim.
There are many people who would love a shiny new vehicle under the tree this year – even if that vehicle is yours. Car thieves are busy year-round, and December is no different. Even if you drive a used car or a family-friendly sedan, you could be a prime target for car theft. You can take steps to deter thieves by keeping your vehicle locked and only parking in well-lit areas. We also suggest finding an affordable car insurance policy that includes comprehensive coverage for auto theft.