A Merry Christmas doesn’t come from a store, but giving gifts is a holiday tradition that many look forward to each year. Unfortunately, there are thieves who would love nothing more than to take those gifts for themselves, leaving you with nothing to give or receive. If the Grinch is visiting your neighborhood, taking the following precautions can help you save Christmas.
1. Don’t Assume Your Hard-to-Reach Home is Off-Limits to Thieves
Whether you live on the third floor of an apartment building, inside a condo building with a doorman, or inside of a gated subdivision, don’t assume your first line of defense is enough to deter a thief. You must remain vigilant during the holidays when thieves go out of their way to break into homes with unsuspecting owners. Even if you live in a fortress, never leave your property unlocked, whether it’s the door to the basement or even a balcony. Also, keep all of your windows locked all season since it only takes one overlooked window to let in a thief.
2. Use a Credit Card to Make Holiday Purchases
Many consumers are unaware of the extra benefits offered by credit card issuers. Some have very generous perks, including coverage against theft, loss or damage for items purchased using a particular credit card. That means you may be able to file a claim for stolen items with your credit card company and have the purchase price refunded to you according to the terms of your card agreement.
3. Don’t Leave Shipments Idle on Your Doorstep
If you are one of the millions of Americans who shops for holiday gifts online, think about how tempting a newly shipped package may be to the eyes of a thief. Instead of needing to file a missing shipment claim, try having retail purchases sent to the brick-and-mortar stores of the retailer you purchased them from. Alternatively, you could have them sent to a post office box, a neighbor’s house, or request a signature on delivery.
4. Don’t Leave Gifts in Your Car
It may seem like a good hiding place or perhaps a convenient place to keep purchases as you make your way from store to store, but imagine going to retrieve the new diamond earrings you bought for your wife only to find they’ve been taken from the passenger seat of your vehicle. When items are left in plain sight, they can catch the eyes of thieves. Instead, put valuables and bags that look like they may contain valuables in the trunk where they are not easily seen.
5. Avoid Over-Sharing on Social Media
Social media is abuzz with activity during the holiday season. As tempting as it may be to share your excitement about going home for the holidays, remember that you never know who may be watching. When you post information about your travel plans or expensive gift purchases on the Internet, it may be free game for the world to see – even if you think your privacy settings are up-to-date. Keep the personal details to yourself and stick to generic holiday greetings instead.
6. Update Your Insurance
Insurance is designed to give you peace of mind. If you haven’t reviewed your coverage in a while, it may be time to meet with an independent agent. There are affordable car insurance policies that provide coverage for auto theft, while homeowners and renters insurance can help recover from the theft of personal belongings.