With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the 2015 holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to family gatherings, parties and presents, but unfortunately there are also some holiday security threats that you should be aware of and plan for so that you can stay safe. These common threats can strike at any time, but are especially heightened around the holidays.
While the risk of home burglary is generally highest in the summer season (burglars don’t like freezing whether any more than the rest of us), there are a few times during the holidays when the risk of a burglary spikes. The upcoming Thanksgiving weekend is one of those times. Due to the fact that many people travel for the holidays, it is an opportune time for burglars to strike the empty homes they leave behind.
The best way to protect yourself against burglary is to make your home an unattractive target, and a great way to do that is with a home security system. When given a choice between attempting to rob a home with a security system vs one without a system, burglars will almost always choose to rob the home without one. If you have a system, make sure to arm it before you leave for a holiday vacation, and make sure your yard signs are displayed prominently.
Also, the risk of auto burglary is highest in the winter when shoppers are at the mall all day buying holiday gifts. In order to avoid falling victim to car burglary, lock your doors and store all gifts in your trunk or cover items so that they are not visible from the windows. Burglars casing parking lots look for high-ticket items like electronics, jewelry, and other items that they can easily resell. Hiding these items and their bags makes burglars less likely to try breaking into your vehicle.
With more retail and online shopping comes more risk for identity theft. Unfortunately, identity theft can happen to consumers at any time, but there are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe:
- Set up credit monitoring so that you will be alerted if there is any unusual activity under your name
- Never let a store employee take your credit card out of your site
- Password protect your phone if you store payment details on it
- Only shop from reputable online merchants
- Keep credit cards in an RFID sleeve or wallet
- Change the online passwords regularly on your financial accounts (and be sure not to duplicate any of them)
- Check your credit card transactions regularly and immediately report any suspicious activity to your credit card company
Following these steps, you can minimize your risk for identity theft. If there is any sort of large-scale security breach by any of the retailers or merchants you’ve shopped at, stay tuned for details on what you need to do to stay safe. Often times big companies will make some sort of concession to customers that were affected, like free credit monitoring – always take advantage of these to protect yourself.
Home fires occur in the winter most often due to improperly maintained heating units. Make sure home heating units like gas fireplaces and HVAC units are properly inspected and serviced. Gas leaks or soot blockages can cause a severe fire risk. With wood burning fireplaces and pellet stoves, make sure that good practices are implemented when in use – keep kids away from flames and prevent sparks by using a metal screen.
Note: Dynamark home security systems have the ability to also alert you to critical conditions like fire and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, but only if those features are activated. Contact us if you’d like to add those features to your system.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Heating your home with a gas stove or oven is an unsafe way to warm an area and can result in high levels of carbon monoxide. Additionally, starting your car in the garage can put your family at risk for CO2 poisoning as well. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is a good way to avoid having a problem in these risky winter months. See our blog post about carbon monoxide poisoning for more information.
By following the precautions outlined above, you can avoid common holiday security threats and keep your family safe. Best wishes for a joyous and safe 2015 holiday season from all of us here at Dynamark Security of Richmond!