Christmas is coming and so are the bandits! As the Christmas season swings into high gear, we thought we would share a few safety tips with you:
- Double check doors and windows before leaving home, even for a few minutes.
- If travelling for the holidays, have a neighbor or family member watch your house, wet your plants and vary the lights.
- Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
- Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or pets do not knock it over.
- Check wiring on Christmas lights to ensure it is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire. When lighting trees and outer areas of the house – use outdoor lights with the appropriate extension cords. Make sure that the connections are taped with electrical tape – water and electricity do not mix.
- Observe your surroundings when coming home, if your see strangers parked or loitering near your gate, do not stop, drive off or stop at neighbor and blow your horn to attract attention.
- Avoid driving alone at night. There is safety in numbers.
- Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. When leaving your vehicle, set your alarm.
- If you must shop at night, park in well-lit areas.
- Park as close as you can to your destination, even in malls try to park as close to the entrance as possible.
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
- Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk,
- Have your keys in your hand when to going to your vehicle.
- Do not put your purse or parcels on top of the car in order to open the door.
- When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
- Use an ATM in a well-lit location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
- Protect your PIN by shielding the keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
- Do not leave your receipt at the machine.
- If you are getting trouble using the machine, do not accept help from strangers.
- If you see suspicious persons or activities near the ATM, leave and advise the police.
- Shop during the day possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
- Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
- Do not carry a large purse, if possible. Walk with only the card you intend to use.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- Pay for purchases with your debit or credit card when possible.
- If you have to use cash separate it into small amounts to pay for your purchases, i.e. rather than take out a wad of $2,000 to count our $500 to pay the cashier, keep four bundles of $500 each and use each one at a time. Better yet, shop over several days so you carry less cash at one time.
- Keep cash in your front pockets.
- Notify the bank immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen. Keep the emergency number in your phone contacts.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages but do not make several trips to your car to put purchases in the trunk and by shopping over several days, you eliminate this happening.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason either at home or while shopping. At this time of year, the “con-artists” will try to distract you with the sole intention of taking your money or belongings.