WALDORF, Md. – The holiday season is a special time of year when we enjoy shopping, travelling, holiday parties, and spending time with our families and friends. However, with all of these traditions, people often become busy and carefree, making them vulnerable to theft and other crimes. As much as we want everyone to relax and enjoy the coming weeks, we don’t want anyone’s season of joy to be ruined if they become the victim of a crime. So, we have compiled a list of holiday safety tips to keep in mind as you enjoy the festivities:
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you shop at night, be sure to park in a well-lit area.
- Always be alert of your surroundings.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- If you are carrying a wallet or purse, be extra cautious. Avoid leaving anything out or open for a thief to grab.
- When placing bags or packages in your vehicle, put them in your trunk or out of plain view and lock your doors.
- Wear a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Purchase items only from reputable retailers. There are many fake shopping websites, which appear legitimate, whose only purpose is to steal personal and credit card information.
- Remember that if an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is. Be weary of rock bottom prices on popular items and “free stuff”.
- Do not shop on public wifi. Hackers can spy on your activity and steal your information.
- If you set up an account on a retailer’s website, choose a strong password. Many of these sites store personal information that you would not want to be in the hands of hackers.
- Don’t fall for email scams. Delete suspicious messages and avoid opening links or attachments from senders you don’t recognize.
- Track your shipments and ensure items are not left on your porch. Package thefts are prevalent this time of year. Consider having your items shipped to a family member or friend who will be home at the time of delivery, or ask a neighbor to collect your deliveries until you get home.
- Be cautious about sharing your trip information and itinerary with anyone other than close family and friends. If thieves find out you are out of town, they may take the opportunity to break into your home and steal your valuables.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home, and to let you know if they see anything out of the ordinary.
- Test your alarm or home security system before you leave.
- Avoid travelling with large amounts of cash.
- Always have a plan for a sober ride home. Have a designated driver or schedule an Uber, but no matter what, never ever drive while impaired.
- Wear a mask if social distancing is not possible.
- If you are attending a party with people you do not know, be sure not to leave your purse, wallet, or jacket anywhere that they can be stolen.
Staying at Home:
- Keep the doors to your home, vehicles, garages, and sheds locked, whether you are at home or not. Simply locking up will deter many thieves from stealing your property.
- Do not place gifts or valuables in locations that can be seen from outside.
- Be careful not to place empty boxes out for trash collection which showcase your new valuables. An empty TV or Playstation box at the curb tells a thief about the valuables that are inside the house.
Do not be a victim. Taking these simple precautions can prevent many hassles during the holidays. We hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.