In the age of technology, nothing is sacred. The information you post online can be used against you. A new generation of thieves rely on your Facebook and Twitter posts as ammunition to break into your homes and steal your belongings while you’re away. With this being said, you can never be too cautious. Especially during the holiday season when trips are planned and big ticket items are purchased as gifts for you and your family. And while real thieves may steal your stuff, even more dangerous are identity thieves. Identity theft can go unnoticed if not monitored regularly.
Here are some tips that will help you safeguard your most valuable possessions during a potentially dangerous time of year:
- Do not publicly announce your plans on Social Networking websites or in front of people you don’t know intimately. You never know who may be lurking in cyberspace. Not only should you keep travel plans and gift ideas to yourself, your spouse and your children should too.
- Make sure that doors and windows are locked when you leave your home even if it’s only for a few minutes. You can never be too safe. If you’re able to install a deadbolt, by all means do so. This added safety precaution is well worth the time and money you invest in it.
- Have a family member or trusted friend collect your newspapers and mail while you’re away for an extended period of time. You never want to give an outsider the impression that no one is home. Newspapers and mail piling up are a surefire sign that your family is away.
- Set an automatic timer to turn on indoor and outdoor lights. Although it will increase your electric bill ever so slightly, using a timer gives people the impression that someone is watching your home. A dark home gives thieves the tools they need to quietly enter your home and ransack it without anyone even noticing.
- Leave a radio or television on to give outsiders the idea that someone is at home. Some background noise is ideal whenever you leave the house even if it’s only for a few hours or two. If a thief believes that someone is home, they will skip over your residence.
- Do not leave large displays of holiday gifts in visible areas. Unless you want someone else to have all the presents that you purchased, you should keep them in a concealed area of your home away from doorways and windows. Anyone passing by could see them and steal them while you’re out shopping or picking your kids up from school.
- Use the ATM in well-lit areas during daytime hours. Thieves take advantage of certain situations. Avoid putting yourself in danger by taking unnecessary risks. Always handle money transactions during business areas.
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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.