The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, filled with great food, visits with relatives and lots of photo opportunities. No one ever plans for anything bad to happen during the holidays, but it’s still important to be aware that crimes do still occur during the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Don’t Leave Your Home Looking Lonely
The holidays equal family visits, which means you will either be hosting a get together or traveling to one yourself. If you’re going the latter route this year, it’s important to find a way to make your home appear occupied while you’re away. Many thieves know that the holidays make for an excellent opportunity to break into an empty home, so consider purchasing a timer that will turn lights on and off at various intervals, making it look like someone is home.
Some criminals are aware of timers so ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers to prevent them from piling up in the driveway and basically marking your home for a robbery.
2. Protect Your Precious Identity
There are a number of ways that criminals can get hold of your private information, such as password phishing, hacking websites and installing programs that steal your credit card numbers when you make purchases at stores or gas stations. It seems like every day we learn of a new and underhanded method of attacking others, but good old-fashioned common sense does a lot to protect you.
Always review your credit reports and statements carefully, and keep your checkbook balanced so that you know exactly how much money you have at any given time. When you make holiday purchases on websites, never allow the site to save your private information. Doing so may make it easier to shop in the future, but it puts your personal information at risk.
3. Avoid The Classic Scams
The holidays are a great opportunity for scam artists. People are in the spirit of giving, which means they can be more easily manipulated into donating money to a made-up charity. If you plan on practicing philanthropy this season, be sure to carefully research your cause of choice. Never give money to a random person who calls or approaches you with a charity.
4. Stay Safe on The Roads
Holidays mean gatherings, and gatherings often mean alcohol. Stay safe on the roads this season by practicing defensive driving and avoiding the roads during peak traffic times. Also, always avoid driving while tired. After stuffing yourself with turkey and dinner rolls, it might be better to crash in the guest room versus attempting to make the two-hour drive home with your family in tow.
It’s easy to judge criminals from afar, but sometimes good people find themselves in bad situations. If you made a mistake out of holiday desperation and stole money, goods or information from someone, it’s important that you find a New York, Miami, Houston criminal lawyer or attorney in your area who can represent your case. You can’t undo what you did, but you can convince a court that it was a one-time mistake, and a good attorney will help you do that.
Writer, Giovanna O’Neal understands what it feels like to come home to a burglarized home. She used research found at Houston criminal lawyer websites and contributes this article in hopes of making others aware of extra safety precautions to take during holidays when crime is known to increase.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6818192898/