5 Holiday Safety Tips

5 Holiday Safety Tips

Amidst looking for the perfect gift and decorating your home, the holidays are a time of the year when scammers are out in full force, hoping to catch you off guard.

While you should always be cautious to protect yourself from becoming a victim to others regardless of the time of year, you should practice some common holiday safety tips to ensure your holidays are merry and bright. This blog outlines five everyday things to look for that can ruin the festive mood.

Keep Your Atlanta Home Safe and Secure.

If your neighborhood isn't on this short list, don't worry or start planning your move just yet. Instead, read on to see what makes these places so safe, and plan to improve your home security by calling (800) 552-1111 or getting an instant security quote online today.

Avoiding Email Scams

Holidays are the perfect time for scammers to send out phishing emails that can steal your information or entice you to send payments for products that don't exist. It's important to recognize these scams so you don't get caught in the trap, which can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. In addition to more well-known email scams, scammers create new phishing emails daily, so keep an eye out!

Scams can also come in the form of texts and messages appearing to be from companies you currently have accounts with, for example, a credit card or bank. These messages often ask you for personal information to access your account. Most companies, especially financial institutions, will never send these emails or text messages. If you have any questions about your account, contact your institution directly, but never enter personal information from a link in an email.

Common email scam messages include:

  • We've noticed suspicious account activity
  • A copy of an invoice for something you didn't order
  • There's a problem with your payment information
  • You're eligible for a government refund, or you've won a prize

Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to purchase products or obtain items without your permission. They can access this information through email scams, when you order something online, or even when you use your credit or debit card in a store.

When someone steals your identity, they typically look for your address, credit and debit card numbers, and Social Security numbers. With this information, they may run up bills in your name, obtain a credit card or loan in your name, and destroy your credit.

When you use a credit or debit card in a store, never give out your PIN number, and always keep your wallet close to you. Other ways to lower your risk for identity theft include:

  • Use complex passwords that are hard to guess for all online accounts.
  • Never store your personal information on your phone or computer, including account numbers.
  • Install security on your personal computer to make it harder for hackers to steal your information.
  • Shop online on secure sites that begin with "https."

Tracking Your Deliveries

If you do a lot of your shopping online, you will likely have packages delivered to your front door. The longer these packages sit in the open, the greater your chances of being a theft victim. Some thieves ride through neighborhoods looking for unattended packages.

When checking out online, choose which delivery service you will use. Most companies offer package tracking that lets you receive notifications on when a delivery will be made and where the package is at any given time. Sign up to receive these notifications. If you cannot be home when the package arrives, leave notes for the delivery service to place the package inside your garage door or behind a bush or decoration, so it's not in the open. You can also ask neighbors to hold the package for you until you pick it up.

For added security, install video surveillance at your front door so you can see if someone approaches your porch unannounced. Waterproof HD cameras and video doorbells are ideal for capturing visitors.

Keeping Holiday Presents Out of Sight

It's not uncommon to place a Christmas tree in the center of a front window with gifts underneath. Instead of leaving presents in the open, store them in a closet or storage area to keep them out of sight of burglars. Leaving gifts out in the open can invite someone to break in and steal your gifts. While presents look festive under the tree, leaving them hidden is typically a good idea until you're ready to hand them out.

Also, break boxes down when opening gifts and place them in garbage bins or bags. Disposing of the boxes is better than leaving them on the curb to advertise what you got. Boxes for expensive electronics show everyone what is inside your home.

Safeguarding Against Break-Ins

If you plan on traveling or attending parties and other events with your family this holiday season, protect your home while you're away. Make sure you lock all doors that lead to the outside. Reinforce your patio doors, and be sure to lock your windows. A home security system can also give you peace of mind when you're not at home.

If you're going to be away, leave a radio or your TV on so it sounds like someone is in the home. Use timers on your lights through a home automation system. This type of security system allows you to control the lights from anywhere.

Want to Increase Your Home Security Before the Holidays?

If you live in the Atlanta area, contact Ackerman Security at 800.552.1111 today for a free instant security quote. Our team of trusted home security professionals will provide a security analysis of your property and recommend the best security products to keep you protected. Offering state-of-the-art products for more than 40 years, we provide a no-theft guarantee and round-the-clock monitoring for increased holiday safety.