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.
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.
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.
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.
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.