Tis The Season – For Thieves

The Christmas shopping season is upon us full blast. But, while you’re jingle belling around the malls and parking lots this is also the season to look out for people ready to steal your stuff—especially your high end cell phones. Let me repeat—especially your expensive cell phones. The thieves are watching to see where you put your phone and just how distracted you are while you are merrily shopping so they can steal them. Some of these thieves are so clever they can steal sugar from a cake without breaking the crust—old joke, but use it to protect yourself this season.

Be especially careful about keeping expensive gifts or any valuables for that matter in plain sight inside your vehicle. Thieves don’t care if they break a window to steal your stuff—and then you are left with a broken window and missing stuff. Women especially, watch where you park, watch your surroundings as you return to your car. Pay attention to people lurking in the parking lots. Do not leave your purse in the upper area of a shopping cart while you put items inside your car. You cannot catch a snatch and run thief in a parking lot—or someone who hops inside a waiting car and takes off.

This is also the season for home deliveries. Having large boxes of delivered goods on your front door is an open invitation for thieves. We’ve seen the hidden camera stories of thieves, so called porch pirates, who calmly walk up to a front door and walk off with boxes of items left there by delivery trucks. As more and more people shop on line, items are being delivered to the front door and left there. Even if you are home, the way for many delivery drivers to keep up with busy schedules is to just put the items on the porch and not ring a doorbell and wait for someone to accept the item. Have a plan to better secure your items if you have them delivered. Front door cameras are a good way to catch thieves, but they offer little comfort when these crimes don’t get high priority when you file a theft complaint. These are a few suggestions for dealing with porch pirates. 1) install front door webcams, 2) arrange alternate delivery to a neighbor or some who is home, 3) use Smart Package Lockers if available, that allows you to access a code to then pick up your package from a locker, 4) have your items delivered to your place of work, 5) request a signature for delivery, 6) have a neighborhood watch and neighborhood alert system for suspicious people walking up to front doors. Insuring your packages will help to make you whole. One enterprising person has created a Package Guard that sounds an alert when a package is delivered.

Watch your credit card purchases and check your bank balances often for cybercrimes as remote card readers become more and more available. Be careful opening wallets in checkout lines with large amounts of cash in plain sight. Watch people near you when you enter your PIN numbers to pay for items—give people that “you’re too close look” if they seem to be focused on your transaction.

Tis the season to be on the alert– protect yourself!

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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Wednesday Wisdom