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Take Steps to Avoid Porch Pirating, Car Break-ins, and ID Thieves

Posted on Monday, October 23, 2023
by Outside Contributor
A man - a thief in a sweatshirt with a hood trying to steal a car and break a lock

Courtesy Of Travelers Insurance

There are several times of the year when people spend more time shopping in stores and online for gifts for loved ones, or themselves. While it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of it all, it’s important to remember that increased purchasing brings greater risk of theft.

Travelers claim data shows that, on average, more thefts occur on Black Friday than any other day of the year. Personal identity theft can also spike around this time. Another period when thefts rise is tax season in April, likely due to people spending their tax refunds.

Some of the ways thieves steal gifts — or personal financial information — is through porch pirating, car break-ins, and card theft. Whether it’s holiday season or tax season, be sure to take the necessary steps to help protect yourself while checking things off your shopping list.

Porch Pirating

When having packages or important documents delivered to your home, beware of “porch pirating.” Porch pirating is when a thief steals delivered packages from your doorstep or porch. Thieves can follow delivery trucks, watching for prime targets.

Thieves may strike during working hours since many homes are empty at that time. To help avoid this situation:

  • Choose a specific delivery time when shopping online (if the seller offers this feature).
  • Take advantage of delivery alerts so you can be notified when a package arrives at your home.
  • Provide delivery instructions so packages can be left out of sight from your yard or the road.
  • Ask the shipper to require a signature confirmation of delivery in order to prevent packages being left when no one is home to sign for them.
  • Have your packages delivered to a location where they can be received in person, such as a neighbor’s or relative’s house.
  • If purchasing from a larger retailer, have your package delivered to a local store for pick-up.
  • Request that the delivery company hold your package at their closest pick-up facility until you can pick it up.

Car Break-ins

Your parked car can be a prime target for thieves. They’ll often break windows or punch locks to access items left in plain view. Open windows and unlocked doors can also make your vehicle an easy target. To help reduce the risk of theft from your car:

  • Always lock your doors, even if you’re quickly running in somewhere. And be sure to put the car windows up when leaving it unattended.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit, high-traffic areas and away from larger vehicles or shrubs. Thieves can target cars parked in isolated areas in order to “work” without drawing attention.
  • Be sure to stow and secure all items prior to reaching your destination.
  • Don’t keep any valuable items where they’re clearly visible — especially purses, wallets, or financial documents — as they may catch the eye of a thief.
  • Remove any portable accessories, such as GPS units, when leaving your car.

Card Theft

The holidays are a prime time for thieves to target their victims for ID theft. To help lower the chances of becoming a victim:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you carry in your wallet or purse. Only bring what you’ll need for each shopping trip.
  • Guard your credit card or debit card when making purchases or using an ATM.
  • Always take credit card and ATM receipts with you. Don’t throw them into public trash containers or leave them on the counter as thieves can pick up the receipt.

And remember, your card doesn’t need to be physically stolen to be used. Shield your hand when typing in personal identification numbers. It’s critical to always be aware of who’s around you — some ID thieves copy credit card information or use cellphone cameras to snap pictures of cards.

Added Protection

By taking these steps, you can help lower your odds of losing valuable items or personal data while giving yourself added protection and peace of mind.

This content is brought to you by Travelers. AMAC members receive special discounts on auto, home, and renters insurance from Travelers.

Check out this special offer for AMAC members from Travelers or call 866-675-9167 to discover how much you can save.

*Average savings is based on new AMAC auto policyholders countrywide who reported savings to Travelers through the Affinity marketing distribution channel in 2021. Individual savings may vary. Savings are not guaranteed.

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4 months ago

We could just shoot them, bet that would stop the problem. Sorry bleeding hearts.

Patriot Bill
Patriot Bill
4 months ago

Stop spreading the fear
Just to be clear, these crimes do not happen in gun laden patriotic communities

David Millikan
David Millikan
5 months ago

Very informative AMAC.

4 months ago

Walk with a determined look, head erect and on a casual swivel. Look around your car before getting in. Don’t leave purses, satchels or backpacks on the seat or floorboards. If you see someone near your car, don’t go to it, Find someone to walk with you. Have your keys in your hand before you get to your car.

anna hubert
anna hubert
4 months ago

How about applying the old method of law and order Deal with the criminal accordingly Yes owner should not make easy for the perp but he is not the guilty one

4 months ago

Save your Amazon boxes or Fed Ex and fill the empty boxes with garbage or junk you wan to get rid of. Maybe the porch pirates will avoid your home since they know you only order garbage. LOL

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
4 months ago

To deter Porch pirates: Lock Box
Deter Auto Theft: NO Valuables Visible in Car
Rig sensors around home
Local neighborhood watch

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
4 months ago

Electrify your car overnight. Not to kill but at least, to one their knees. Porch pirates are more difficult. An electrified cage with a large one-way door. Or a cage with a large flap with spring-loaded teeth on the edges of the hole and on the end of the flap so stuff can go in but can’t be pulled out. I once installed such a box behind the seats of pickup for transporting money. It was an 80s truck with an extra large cab. To remove the safe it would be necessary to remove the seats.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
4 months ago

Remember when you shoot them to tell the cop you felt “threatened” when the suspect made a “furtive movement”! Don’t mess with MY Omaha Steaks, bud!

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