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Preventing Holiday Theft
The holidays are upon us! From Thanksgiving through New Year's, the weeks are filled with shopping, planning, wrapping, cooking and spending time with our family and friends. In the flurry of activity, we often forget that November, December, and January are peak times for crime. Here's a few quick tips to help keep the Grinch away:
1. Don't leave valuables in your car. If you must, hide them away out of sight or lock them in trunk.
2. Don't leave your unlocked car idling in the driveway or a parking lot. The weather has turned colder, and the prospect of a warm vehicle is tempting. (Just remember, it's tempting to a thief, too).
3. Be wary of strangers coming to your door asking for money or food. Solicitations for fake causes or organizations are common over the holidays. They may also be attempting to gain entry to your home to steal something else. Posing as a utility worker is a frequent scam. You should always call the utility company to verify an unscheduled visit before allowing an unknown person into your home.
4. Online shopping has become increasingly popular. I personally particularly enjoy the convenience this time of year. Why go out in the cold when I can have the perfect gift delivered right to my door? That said, while certainly convenient, it's also made it easy for a thief to swipe a package left on the steps, in the porch, or in the garage. Some even follow delivery vehicles, looking for an easy opportunity. If you're expecting a delivery and won't be home, consider having packages delivered to an office or to a trusted friend or neighbor. If that's not possible, most delivery services will email or text you when a package has been delivered, so that you can go and retrieve it right away.
5. Speaking of online shopping, make sure you are protecting your identity when shopping online. Check to see that your internet connection is secure (look for the padlock icon by the website address) and only shop at sites that accept secure payment methods, such as credit cards and PayPal.
6. Keep your home secure. Be vigilant about locking doors and windows. Have your lights on timers if you won't be home. If you have a spare key hidden somewhere outside, consider changing it's location or removing it during the holiday season.
7. After Christmas, a lot of cardboard ends up piled up by the trash or recycling can. That makes it pretty easy for a criminal to see in which homes they can expect to find a new TV, laptop, iPhone, iPad, or other gadgets. Consider burning your cardboard or delivering it to the recycling center in person.
Wishing you all a safe and wonderful holiday season! From all of us at RE/MAX, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Raised in Fergus Falls, Kristin first received her real estate license in 2006. After spending several years gaining experience in the marketing and banking fields, she returned to real estate in 2012....
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