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BBB Advice: Protecting Your Home From Criminals During The Christmas Season

The Christmas season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

BBB, with information provided by law enforcement, informs you on how to stay safe during the holiday season.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.

Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.

Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

Shopping:

Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

Dress casually and comfortably.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.

Always carry your Driver's License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.

Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

Keep cash in your front pocket.

Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.

Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

At Home:

Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.

When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.

Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.

Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.

Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.

If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.

Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.

Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.
 
Strangers at Your Door:

Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.

It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.

Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.

Donate to a recognized charitable organization. You may find information on charities that meet BBB standards at www.bbb.org/charities.



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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