It’s the holiday season and while our thoughts are of spending quality time with family, friends, gift giving, and good cheer; criminals are also celebrating their peak season to take advantage of those who let their guard down.
Keep yourself and family out of harm with these holiday safety tips:
Beware of the petty thieves and robbers lurking in the malls and parking lots waiting to get their hands in your pockets. Robbers watch the news and read the paper to see where the big sales are going to be and then survey certain department stores and malls to see which ones have security and quick escape routes. Then they sit and wait for the race to begin.
- Consider shopping online from trusted websites
- Watch for counterfeit items and sales too good to be true
- Be aware of your surroundings while out at the malls and parking lots
- Try not to shop late at night and only park in well lighted areas
- Bring a friend or family member with you
- Stay off your cell phone, while shopping, so you can stay alert (including listening to music with headphones)
- Use your credit or debit cards and avoid carrying large sums of cash
- Do not wear expensive or flashy jewelry or watches
- Women carry your purse over your shoulder, pulled slightly to the front of your body (do not put it in your shopping cart)
- Place all items in the trunk of your vehicle to reduce your chance of being a “smash and grab” victim
- Keep your hands free when exciting the store (use a shopping cart to transport your bags to your vehicle)
- Keep your keys and cell phone in your pocket, so if your purse is stolen you can still call for help and get home
- Never leave your car running and unattended – even for a second
Identity theft is actually the number one crime during the holiday season!
- When shopping online only do so from trusted websites
- Beware of email sales offers. Always make sure the links you click on go to the actual website and not something designed to look close. When in doubt type in the website address into your browser yourself.
- Shred any sensitive documents with your social security or account numbers before throwing them away
- Review your monthly statements, bank accounts and credit reports
Home burglaries spike during the holidays with easy access to a pile of presents, new electronics, and families traveling out of town.
- Consider a home alarm monitoring service (and don’t forget to turn it on); have signs and stickers that show your house is protected by the service.
- Keep random lights on, if traveling you can get timer or smart tech bulbs that allow you to control the lights from your phone
- Make sure all windows and doors are locked and secure
- Close window curtains at night to avoid letting people see into your house
- Put away any easy to grab items that are high value like cash, jewelry, laptops or other electronics
- Get a dog or a fake motion sensor barking dog alarm (yes they really work to deter burglaries)
- Have packages delivered to your home with signature confirmation so they are not left unattended at your front door
- Only open the door to delivery services you can verify – look at their uniform, package tablet and there is a big UPS or FedEx truck in front of your house.
Scams are very common during the holidays, when criminals take advantage of our giving mood and trick us into giving money to a phony charity or to enter a fake sweepstakes. Always do your research and verify the charity is legitimate before giving any personal information or money. Here are the most common red flags according to the FTC:
- Refuses to provide detailed information about its identity, mission, costs, and how the donation will be used.
- Won’t provide proof that a contribution is tax deductible.
- Uses a name that closely resembles that of a better-known, reputable organization.
- Thanks you for a pledge you don’t remember making.
- Uses high-pressure tactics like trying to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to think about it and do your research.
- Asks for donations in cash or asks you to wire money.
- Offers to send a courier or overnight delivery service to collect the donation immediately.
- Guarantees sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution. By law, you never have to give a donation to be eligible to win a sweepstakes.
Important Safety Tips
NEVER EVER go to another location with a criminal no matter what they say or even if they have a weapon. Always fight and run in these situations. Crime statistics overwhelming show that victims who go to another location are assaulted and killed.
This is why it is so important to always keep up your martial arts training. The martial arts is a perishable skill that you must keep practicing in order to be at your best. While our school offers many benefits through martial arts training, such as confidence, self-esteem, discipline, life skills, leadership development and weight loss; the core essence of the martial arts is to be able to defend oneself and loved ones.
See you in class and be safe!