As joyous as the holiday season can be, it’s also a time when less-than-honest folks take advantage of others regardless of where you reside- Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, etc. All of the shopping, entertaining, and good will causes people to lose some of their usual vigilance and awareness. Knowing this, thieves and scam artists are particularly active during the holiday season. However, there are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim and having your holiday season ruined.
Because everyone is doing their holiday shopping, thieves know that there is a larger than usual cache available in people’s homes. In fact, instead of the usual burglarizing of homes and stealing used goods throughout the year, the holidays mean that thieves have access to brand new items in your home. As a result of this, you should be particularly careful about securing your home, both when you are in the house and when you leave. Instead of displaying all the beautiful new gifts under the tree in front of your window, consider hiding them in a closet until it’s time to exchange gifts. There’s no reason to tempt potential burglars with guaranteed loot if they decide to break into your house.
When you are out and about, try to keep aware of your surroundings, as you always should. It’s possible that you have a lot more cash or credit cards on hand than usual because of gift shopping, which makes you a more lucrative target. If you are carrying many packages, you may be less aware of your wallet or purse, allowing a thief to easily take advantage of the opportunity. Protect yourself by keeping your purse latched shut or your wallet not in your back pocket, where it can be easily taken. Many thefts are crimes of opportunity and anything you can do to make yourself less vulnerable means the thief will pursue another, easier victim rather than you.
According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, car crimes also increase with the holiday season. As with purse snatchings and pick pocketing, these are also crimes of opportunity. If you leave your keys in the car to run to the mailbox or to the ATM for even just a moment, you may find your car gone when you return. Thieves rely on people to be in a hurry or distracted at this time of year, so always make sure you lock your doors and windows and take your keys with you. Also, do not leave anything in sight. Instead, lock all your items in the trunk.
Another common holiday-season crime relies on your caring and good nature. Many people make significant charitable donations towards the end of the year, as the holidays may put you in a more giving mood. But while this is a noble endeavor, you should make sure that you are aware of where you are donating your money. It’s not unheard of for thieves to prey on your sympathies and solicit donations for fake charities. You can either stick with known, reputable agencies, or at least do your research to make sure the money you donate is going to the right place.
But while theft and scams increase during the holiday season, this advice should be heeded year-round. By remembering to always be on your guard, you can avoid being victimized.