It’s the most wonderful time of the year filled with family, fun, food, drinks and the exchanging of gifts. In this day and age, the majority of those gifts are purchased online and left to sit on dimly lit porches waiting for their owners to return from work. Moreover, ‘tis the season for traveling to the homes of loved ones, leaving homes vacant and prime targets for the greedy eyes of thieves. Follow our tips to protect your gifts, home and holiday fun from the Scrooges of the world this holiday season:
Keep travel plans offline
One thing to always keep in mind is to never advertise your absence from your home. You don’t want people to know that you’re away for an extended period of time because that is enticing for any burglar to run by and snatch the gifts waiting on your porch or to even find their way into your empty home. If at all possible, try asking a neighbor or family member to pick up any packages you may have arriving while you’re away.
Make your home look lived in
In order to keep your house looking occupied, stop mail and newspaper delivery when traveling for long periods. Allowing mail to pile up is a dead giveaway that you aren’t home. Be sure to tidy up outside to make it look like it’s well kempt and recently tended to. If you have decorated with holiday lights, set them up on a timer to make it look like you’re at home turning them on and off as you please.
Opt for a high tech doorbell
Are your neighbors also out of town leaving you to tend to your home from afar? Have no fear; FTC has your back. Our SkyBell Video Doorbell will keep a watch out for you. Using a Wi-Fi signal, this innovative doorbell can show you what’s going on outside your door whether you’re right inside or hundreds of miles away. A corresponding smartphone app will allow you to have peace of mind wherever you are by showing live video of your package being dropped off or maybe even picked up. There is even a microphone and speaker embedded in the doorbell that allows you to make the delivery person aware that you’ve seen the package and maybe even ask them to drop it somewhere less noticeable. Its motion-activated video capabilities give you the control, convenience and safety you crave when away from home.
Hide your gifts from plain sight
If you are going to have a large pile of elegantly wrapped presents, keep them out from under the tree until Christmas Eve. Having them out and in plain sight is an enticing sight for a burglar who may be lurking nearby. If you must absolutely have the gifts under the tree, keep it out of sight from any low-lying windows. If a burglar can see your tree and presents from outdoors, those Grinches will find a way to make them theirs.
Clean up your trash
Do not throw away the boxes to all those high-priced items in the garbage right outside your house. Take them somewhere and dispose of the boxes and bags in a place that is not easily traced to you. Keeping those big TV boxes and that nice computer packaging right outside your front door is a preview to all the amazing things you now have in your house.
Be careful with your information online
Cyber security is a huge deal nowadays and it’s important to keep your information as private as possible, especially during heavy shopping seasons. Only give out the information absolutely necessary to make a purchase and get it sent to you safely. Do this on trusted sites with authorized dealers. If you see “https://” the website you are on has extra measures to keep you and your information safe. Hackers take advantage of this time of year because people are so willingly giving out information to get the perfect gifts for their loved ones. With the rise of popularity in online shopping, hackers have found their jackpot, so everyone needs to take caution on the internet.
Make sure that when you head out to participate in last minute gift shopping madness, you disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth whenever possible. Many retailers will look for Wi-Fi signals to track you once you’re within range of their stores – don’t let them. Hackers can easily get ahold of that information as your phone searches for a Wi-Fi signal. That can track where you are in the store and maybe even show what you’ve purchased based on what times you were at checkout. Also, make sure you limit what you do on public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily get into your phone through the unprotected Wi-Fi server showing all the information you may have given out and the accounts you’ve been logging into.
Whether you’re away from home or sitting by the fire sipping hot chocolate, the burglars and hackers don’t take a day off, even during the most wonderful time of the year. Head to our website to see more security offerings from your friends at FTC to help you make the most of your holiday season.