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Holiday Shoppers – Beware Gift Theft

There’s a week until Christmas. From here on out, it’s going to be a mad dash to the end. This weekend may get as big as Black Friday, and the momentum will carry us through until Christmas.

This is a time to be very careful if you’re in a mall or other shopping center, if you’re driving from store-to-store doing your Christmas shopping or even if you’re just shopping for other items. Because there’s so much hustle and bustle and because so many people will be making massive shopping runs, it’s an ideal time for thieves to steal presents from cars or even inattentive shoppers.

It’s nearly impossible to remove all risk of theft–unless you don’t buy anything. But here are a couple tips for keeping your holiday purchases safer.

1. Don’t Leave Your Car Unlocked

You knew that one already. But if you’re in a hurry, you may find yourself forgetting to listen for that familiar click as you walk into a store. Always lock your car, and make sure that you’ve locked it.

However, locked cars won’t prevent theft, so:

2. Don’t Leave Visible Bags in the Car

That’s a good tip any time you’re shopping, but it’s especially important during the holiday season. Smash and grab is a lot easier than opening the trunk and hoping there’s something in it. You make window-shopping a lot easier by leaving visible bags and packages in the car. (Covering them with a blanket isn’t a great idea, though it may make them slightly less attractive.)

3. Don’t Let Bags Out of Your Sight

Stopping in the food court for a bite? It’s a better idea to do this when you have only one or two bags (or haven’t started shopping yet), then when you’ve hit up 5 stores and having a whole load of bags. Be sure you can keep an eye on your items.

4. Park in Well-Lit Areas

If everything is hidden in the trunk, then the thief is going to have to go to a lot more trouble to get it. And if your car is in a well-lit area, then thieves may move on to more dependable or safer targets, like cars with exposed gifts or cars in obscure areas.

Retailers and police will be doing their part in many areas to ensure that parking lots are better-secured than during the rest of the year. But don’t rely entirely on them. Take your own steps to protect the gifts you buy and keep holiday thieves from making your Christmas less fun!

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December 20, 2009 at 8:07 am

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Christina @ Northern Cheapskate December 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I think this is very smart advice no matter what the season is!

I’d like to add that if you’ve ordered something online or from a catalog, be sure someone will be around when it is delivered. A box sitting on your front porch can be a little too tempting for thieves!
.-= Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last blog ..Free 20 Song Starbucks Sampler =-.

Nick December 22, 2009 at 11:41 am

Thieves park in the lot and watch people load stuff in the car. If the consumer return to the store, the thieves will break into that car and take the stuff. Covering it will not work! Best bet is to load your car, then drive to a different area of the parking lot, like the other side. The thieves will think you went home.

So load your gifts in the trunk, keep it covered, then drive to another place and park it.

Do not park and then move, cover your gifts in the new parking spot. There will be a new set of thieves in the area and they will see you moving and covering your gifts. Then watch you walk into the store. They will just break it and pop the trunk with that trunk release and take all your stuff.


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