Christmas is a time of the aspirations of peace on earth and goodwill pervades. Sadly criminals will disregard the “goodwill” bit and take advantage of this time of year.

We understand that people are busy, balancing home, work and the festive preparations. The shops are busy and the email inbox in full of offers and other communications. Car parking spaces are at a premium and of course there are the parties, events and other commitments that make December a very busy time of the year.

This makes for an ideal opportunity for some people whose festive spirit and moral compass is not in line with the season, take advantage and commit crime. There are lots of information and advice about keeping safe this Christmas – just these few tips may help reduce risk:

SHOPPING – USING ATMS – PAYING FOR THINGS WITH CARDS

  • Keep credit/debit cards safe in a zipped pocket or bag
  • Keep you bag close and be aware of the risk of people helping themselves to your cards
  • Shield that PIN – make sure no body can see you enter the pin
  • At the ATM only withdraw as much as you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Put your money and cards away (not in your back pocket) safely before leaving the machine.
  • Useful links
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/banking/banking-security-and-fraud/

BUYING CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

  • If you return to your car to offload those presents before returning to shop a thief may be watching and will break into your car before the gifts are wrapped.
  • Avoid going back to your car to leave your shopping part-way through your trip.
  • If you must, keep presents in the car, make sure they are out of view in the boot, the car is locked, and keep the receipts with you.
  • For more information on how to keep your car secure follow this link https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/vehicle-crime/

EMAIL AND TELEPHONE SCAMS

  • The only person you want calling is Santa! Not someone who is trying to trick you out of money or bank details.
  • You are going to be busy this time of year and criminals will use this to their advantage so please take extra care.
  • If it sounds to good to be true it should flag warning signs
  • A responsible retailer, your bank or card company  will never call and ask for your bank details / pin numbers etc – if they do – please don not give them the details – hang up and call them back on a number you have on your card or bank statement – not the number they have given you
  • Keep up to date of the latest scams and ensure all family members are aware – sign up to Action Fraud Alert by following this link https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/sign-up-for-action-fraud-alert

AT HOME

  • We all hope that Santa is generous, this means that at this time of year the home has more valuable new items received or yet to be given.
  • Check the security of your home, ensure that doors are locked, and windows are secure and that where possible any access to the rear of the property is restricted or secure. If you have external decorations be aware that that slightly ajar window required to get the power lead out, is all that is needed (providing a gap into which a tool can be inserted) to allow the criminal in.
  • Presents around the Christmas tree, so traditional, unfortunately this is where we put all our unopened valuables, in one place, yet unregistered or identifiable goods, the sort of bounty which is ideal for a burglar. At any other time of the year we would not pile up all our valuables in the corner of the room, draw attention to them by putting a tree in the middle of them and finally if that was not unusual enough, lighting up the tree to really draw attention to the. Finding goods to steal could not be easier this time of year so please think home security.
    For information and prevention advice please follow this link>> https://www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/burglary/

WHAT DO YET GET THE PERSON WHO HAS EVERYTING

  • Security products can make an ideal Christmas gift, light timers – Wi-Fi controlled switches, personal attack alarms, pot coding kits, domestic CCTV cameras, inviable marker pens and more – if purchasing physical devices such as locks or bike locks have a look at Sold Secure was established in 1992 by Northumbria and Essex Police with the help and backing of the Home Office. For security ideas and Sold Secure products see https://www.soldsecure.com/search-by-approval-category/. Note that you will be redirected to an external website.

ONCE YOU HAVE THE GIFT

  • Unless it is a jumper that does not fit, you want to keep the gifts you have received – make a note of any serial numbers, photograph it and if very valuable notify your insurers as you may need to have it as a named item on your policy.