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Unfortunately, the Holidays are no longer just about spreading cheer, giving back and enjoying the company of friends and family. The growing problem we all face, especially during the Holiday season, is an increase in theft. Examples of these too common thefts range from identity theft to packages being taken from an unsuspecting homeowner.
Just last month, WREG Channel 3 reported a package thief being caught on camera in East Memphis helping himself to an unsuspecting homeowner’s deliveries. LocalMemphis.com reported the theft of Christmas lights from a resident’s yard in Germantown, while WMC Channel 5 reported on the rise of skimming credit card numbers at Mid-South gas stations. Even with video surveillance of the thief there is no guarantee would-be criminals will be caught and prosecuted. Part of the issue is the astounding number of times each day this happens, presenting an overwhelming problem for The Memphis Police Department. While we can’t protect ourselves and our belongings 100% of the time, there are steps that can be taken that will drastically decrease the chance of becoming the next victim of theft.
- Protect your Identity: With an increase in the use of credit cards during the Holiday Season, thieves don’t just want your packages, they want your identity. If you haven’t personally been the victim of identity theft in some shape or form you probably know someone that has. A helpful resource on Identity Theft is USA.gov, outlining the do’s and don’ts of protecting yourself on the Internet. These thieves use your information to apply for credit cards, loans or even medical services. It is even more important to protect the information of your children, as the damage done using their private information can sometime go unnoticed until he/she becomes an adult. Some simple tips are to install proper firewalls on your computer making it harder for hackers, periodically change online passwords and frequently review your checking account and credit card statements for unauthorized purchases. The sooner you report illegal purchases the easier it is for your financial institution to rectify the problem. If you suspect that you have been targeted report you can put a "credit freeze" on your accounts that will help to prevent anyone from opening new, fraudulent accounts in your name.
- Protect your Packages at home – Online shopping has made buying gifts more accessible and far easier, but it has also presented an easier way for thieves to get what they want. Brazen criminals are finding “front door” theft to be quite easy and profitable. Because they can get to your front door and out of the area in mere seconds, this type of theft is ever-growing. The simplest way to protect your packages is to know when they will be delivered. By obtaining a tracking number you can easily schedule a pick-up or delivery time with USPS, FedEx, or UPS. After all, a thief can’t steal what isn’t there. If you do have packages delivered while you are away, having a neighbor help with receiving your packages or installing noticeable motion activated video cameras is sometimes enough to deter most thieves.
- Protect the belongings in your car – Auto theft during the holiday season is always prevalent because thieves can steal from multiple vehicles in one location in a short period of time. Now is the time to be extra-careful as auto break-ins from packed shopping center parking lots or from a row of cars at a nightly Christmas party is on the rise. Securing your purse or belongings in your trunk is the easiest way to deter a thief. It bears repeating, a thief can’t steal what isn’t there. Most car burglars are looking for an easy target where the merchandise is easily seen in the front or back seat of a vehicle.
While these hints may seem obvious, they bear repeating because it is steps proven to work and lessen the likelihood of being a theft victim. If you have any information related to a suspected crime please contact The Memphis Police Department or Crimestoppers of Memphis.
We hope everyone has a wonderful, safe and Happy Holiday season. Know that The Chiozza Law Firm and Your901Law.com is here to help with any and all of your legal needs. Our office, conveniently located in Downtown Memphis, is the place we call home, welcoming walk-ins with no appointment necessary. Whether you need to warm up from the Arctic blast of cold air moving into Memphis this week or want to discuss a new or pending legal matter, our doors are always open. If you can’t make it to the office feel free to call 901-526-9494 during business hours or for emergencies email Brian Chiozza, email@example.com.
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