Most people are focused on the fun hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Decorating, baking, planning time with family, shopping for gifts, and traveling to and from various obligations takes a lot of attention and time. Unfortunately, there are people who use this time of distraction to take advantage of those around them. The two most common ways this happens is with credit card fraud and home robbery. By taking a few extra precautions during the holiday season, it is possible to minimize the possibility of these things happening to you and your family.
Keep Your Home Safe
Whether or not you will be traveling long distance for the holidays, you will inevitably be away from home at some point. It’s the time of holiday parties, shopping trips, and Christmas light journeys. The time away combined with the assumption of most burglars that there will be high ticket items waiting to be looted increases the number of home break-ins around the holiday season.
There are several ways to help reduce the robbery curb appeal of your home. Some of the most effective are also the simplest. Don’t advertise absences, vary your routine, make sure all windows and doors are locked, and install motion-activated lights outside. While these are certainly effective, there are high-tech options that greatly increase the overall safety of your home.
Electronic home security has improved significantly over the last decade. The availability of devices which are able to wirelessly connect to the internet has made it easier to secure and monitor homes from anywhere. Companies such as Alarm Relay offer a variety of solutions that allow homeowners to automate and monitor their homes with their smart phone. It is also possible to put together one’s own system by combining external video surveillance devices, motion-activated lights, and door and window alarms. It is critical to remember to keep these types of devices armed any time you leave your home, but also when you return. They only work if they have been activated.
Safeguard Your Money
Credit card fraud tends to be higher during holiday seasons in part because more people are using their debit and credit cards. This significantly opens people to the possibility of having their security code or pin number stolen with each online and in person use. There are a few ways to make it harder for those who have no legitimate reason to have your information to obtain it.
The first step in good financial security starts with great password hygiene. Just as you would never share a toothbrush with another person, never share passwords between accounts or with other people. If your password is always the same it makes it much easier to steal an innocuous login and use it for a merchant or banking site.
When shopping online always make sure you enter the intended website manually rather than clicking on a social media, email, or other link. Individuals will often set up sites intended to look legitimate with slight differences in the URL and will capture banking and credit card information when people think they are making a legitimate purchase from a trusted retailer. Similarly, always check that the website where you are inputting sensitive information contains https rather than http as this adds an additional level of security.
A new technological development that has made great strides in reducing credit card fraud is the new chip that is available on many cards. While this has been somewhat of a hassle for merchants, it has been a boon to consumers. If your current credit card or debit card does not have one of these, make inquiries to see if they are available and if you can have one issued now instead of waiting for your renewal card near the time of the expiration date of the current one.
It isn’t fun to think about having your privacy invaded by someone who wants to take your money or possessions but doing so can help prevent the loss of either. Take the time to evaluate your current security precautions and identify ways they could be breeched in order to fix those issues before they are exploited.