The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But they’re also a time when thieves are on the prowl, looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Here are some of the most common types of holiday theft and how you can avoid becoming a victim:
1. Gift card fraud:
Thieves will often target gift cards that have been left unattended or unsecured. They may also try to guess the PINs on these cards to access the funds. To avoid this type of fraud, be sure to keep your gift cards in a safe place and never give out the PIN to anyone.
This is especially common in crowded areas such as shopping malls during the holiday season. Be sure to keep your valuables close to your body and be aware of your surroundings. If you see someone acting suspiciously, moving away from them is best.
3. Package theft:
This is another type of theft that occurs more often during the holidays. Porch pirates will target homes that have packages delivered to them, either taking the package outright or opening it and stealing the contents. To avoid this, consider having your packages delivered to a secure location such as a workplace or a neighbor’s house.
4. Car break-ins:
Thieves will often target cars that are parked in public areas or even in driveways. They may smash a window to gain entry or open an unlocked door. To avoid this type of theft, keep your car locked and never leave valuables in plain sight.
5. Home break-ins:
Unfortunately, home break-ins can also occur during the holidays. Thieves may target unoccupied homes or easy access (such as an unlocked door or window). To avoid this, keep your doors and windows locked at all times, even when you’re home. And be sure to set your alarm system if you have one.
6. Identity theft:
Identity theft is a serious problem that can ruin your holidays, and it’s important to be aware of the risks. There are several ways that thieves can steal your identity during the holiday season. One common method is called “skimming.” This is when thieves attach a device to an ATM or credit card reader that captures your card information. They can then use this information to make fraudulent charges to your account.
Another way thieves can Steal your identity is by “phishing.” This is when criminals send out fake emails or texts that appear to be from a legitimate company. These messages typically ask you to click on a link or provide personal information such as your Social Security number or credit card number. If you respond to these requests, the thieves can use your information to commit fraud.
Only use secure websites when shopping online to protect yourself from identity theft this holiday season. Look for the https:// in the URL and ensure a lock icon is next to it. This indicates that the site uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect your information.
You should also never click on links in emails or texts from companies you don’t do business with. And never provide personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails or texts. Finally, ensure you have a strong password for your online accounts and use a different password for each account.
The holidays are a time for joy and celebration. But they’re also a time when thieves are on the prowl. By being aware of the most common types of holiday theft, you can help keep yourself and your belongings safe.