10/30/17

How To Protect Your Family From Holiday Opportunists




Sadly, with the holidays comes, thieving holiday opportunist. A.k.a soulless, moralless, heartless, thieving asshats. Holiday Opportunist come in all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. They are waiting to catch you on your phone walking to your car with bags of gifts. They are standing next to your shopping cart in the grocery store waiting for the right moment to take your wallet. They are driving around your neighborhood looking for packages on doorsteps, walking through your flower beds looking for a hidden key. Below are a few solid tips to help you Protect Your Family From Holiday Opportunists 

Monitored home security. 

PAID: One of the best options for protection is hiring a professional home security company to install a mega monitoring system. Most of the top security companies install wireless systems that allow remote monitoring via an app.

FREE-ISH: If monthly monitoring fees are out of the question, install your own, app-controlled security system. For under $300, my husband installed nine HD cameras, including a doorbell camera. The system came with access to a free app that allows us to monitor all nine cameras on one screen, or watch an individual camera. The app also records and stores days of video. I LOVE IT! I also love when someone rings the doorbell, the app alerts me and opens the video and intercom feature with one touch. We screw with the neighbors so bad. Always.

                                                                  


Avoid hiding keys and remote controls outside.

Stop hiding house keys and garage-door remote controls inside fake garden rocks, in flower pots, in magnetic boxes under outdoor metal staircases, under statues in the flower beds, or under welcome mats, thieves are hip to your game. Instead, leave a key with the neighbor or in the neighbor's yard if you must have a key outside. There was a news story last week showing a burglar looking for a hidden key. The homeowners had cameras that recorded him. Luckily he didn't get the key, and they got the video to blast his face on the local news! Also, do not leave your garage door remote in your car when you need to park outside. It's basically handing a key to your house over to the opportunist-asshat.

Call the police if anything seems off. 
Never hesitate to call the police if something seems off. Do not go in your house. The police give
free home inspections. Your life is worth so much more.
Keep your handbag attached to you when shopping. 

After repeated news reports of women having their wallets stolen out of their handbag in Target, Walmart, and the grocery store, I've stopped putting my bag in the cart. The opportunist look for easy access wallets and follow their victim until the perfect opportunity to snatch the wallet presents itself. If you must set your bag in the cart, keep it zipped and attached to the cart with the child restraint belt looped and locked around it.

Stay alert and off your phone in parking lots.

Holiday opportunist love nothing more than a holiday shopper carrying full bags while gabbing on the phone, fumbling for car keys. Seriously, a toddler could take the mark in that state. BEFORE leaving the store, get off the phone, locate your keys and scan the parking lot for unsavory suspects standing around. Walk straight to your car, and if at any point you feel followed, threatened or scared, turn around and walk back to the store. Also, screaming is huge if it's too late to turn around. Don't fight back, scream loud AF instead.

Be Porch Pirate Proactive

Porch Pirates are out in full force during the holidays, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's essential you track and be proactive about package deliveries. Chances are a porch pirate is driving down the streets of your neighborhood right now looking for a package to pluck from a porch. Always track shipments so you know when to expect them. On delivery day, ask a neighbor to be on the lookout and grab the package. Set up text or email alerts that let you know when the package has been delivered and slip home during lunch.



Don't advertise your purchases. 

Nothing says, rob me!, like a 65" Smart TV and Playstation box on the curb. Never put boxes for big-ticket items outside in plain sight. Always break down the boxes or take to a recycling center.

Hide your gifts anywhere but under the tree.

The worst of the Holiday Opportunist scum are more than happy to break into your house on Christmas Eve and steal every gift under the tree. Wait until Christmas morning to put the bulk of the present under the tree.

Last, here are a few random tips I found doing research worth mentioning:

  • Don't be a target
  • Wear comfortable casual clothes when shopping and avoid wearing expensive jewelry
  • Lock doors and windows when leaving the house, even for a few minutes. 
  • Set lights on timers and leave the TV or Radio on when leaving for an extended period of time. 
  • If you are concerned about walking to your car at night, ask for a store escort or security guard. 
  • Carry ONE credit card, not a wallet full. That way, if it’s lost or stolen, you only have to cancel one.
  • Place valuable items in your trunk before your next stop.
  • NEVER announce travel plans on social media. Avoid posting photos until you have returned home.






In addition to being the founder of First Time Mom and Dad, April is an award-winning published writer. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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