It is always important to focus on safety for yourself and your family. As we enter into the last quarter of the year and the holiday season, it pays to increase your awareness on possible threats. There are just more opportunities for things to happen in so many areas.
Protect your personal information. Identity theft has become a billion dollar industry every year. During holiday seasons spending normally increases, this gives thieves more incentive to target credit cards and information.
- Keep identifying information such as social security numbers, passport, driver’s license, photo ids, credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial information secure at all times.
- Dispose of any identifying information properly. Thieves will go through mailboxes, garbage receptacles, and discarded items looking for anything that encourages theft. Get rid of unnecessary documents or old credit cards by shredding them properly.
- Check your bank and credit statements when you receive them. If possible, do it more often by accessing it online. Report any discrepancies as soon as possible.
- If you store information on your cell phone or computer, use a secure program that will protect you from hackers. The newer cellular devices are the latest target because people now access their financial information regularly.
- Never leave any identifying information, such as a driver’s license or credit cards, anywhere unattended and be cautious of where and to whom you give information.
- Learn how to use social media wisely. Beware of what you put on social media, such as Facebook. Do not give out personal information that can help predators. For example, if someone is tracking you, you don’t want someone to know that you are away shopping at the mall or going on vacation - they may know where you live and target your home for a burglary.
Protect your residence. Whether you are at home or away, you should always follow certain safety procedures to prevent problems.
- Always secure windows and doors. Burglars today are often aggressive and have no fear of entering even when a resident is home. If locks, windows, or doors do not work, contact your property manager for repairs immediately.
- Keep all outside lights working properly and do not allow anything to obscure them.
- Join a neighborhood watch - it helps to know other people are looking out for you.
- Ensure that no one can observe valuables from outside your residence, particularly during the holiday season.
- If you do have a garage, clear it so you can use it. If you do not park in a garage, be sure you do not leave valuables in your vehicle and keep it locked at all times.
- When you do leave your home, do not “advertise” that you are gone. Someone could be watching and targeting your home. Do not let papers accumulate, notices left stuck on the door, pickup unclaimed packages, return the garbage after pickup, etc.
- If you are leaving on an extended vacation, notify trusted friends, relatives, and of course, your management company.
Stay focused on safety while you are shopping. Shopping areas can be particularly prone to theft.
- Look for safe areas to park your vehicle. If parking at night, find well-lit areas and avoid areas that could lead to any danger.
- Always plan an escape route if you feel there could be an issue.
- Lock your vehicle securely and do not display any valuables or shopping where t easily seen.
- Be aware of how you are carrying your valuables and identifying information so no one can easily access them.
Taking precautions will help ensure the safety of those in your household, give you peace of mind, and help you to enjoy your holiday season.