When the Holiday Season is upon us, it is unfortunate that some may use a happy time of year to prey on others. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and your family safe during that time of year and all year round:

* Dispose of packaging discreetly. Criminals can spot something you’ve discarded and target you for their next burglary or theft.

* When leaving town, have a trusted friend or neighbor take care of your home. Avoid cancelling regular deliveries such as the paper or your mail.

* Arrange to have packages delivered to a neighbor if you are not home to receive them.

* Packages left on porches or doorsteps are “easy picking” for thieves. And it will draw unwanted attention to your home.

* check the identification of all persons delivering packages to your home.

* Keep gifts out of view of windows and doors.

* Leave a TV or radio on when you are away from home.

* Always lock your car and close the windows and keep packages in the trunk.

* Shop with at least one partner.

* Have a meeting place for your children and/or shopping partner in case you are separated.

* Have your car or house key in your hand as you approach the door and use it as a weapon if necessary!

* Do not park next to vans, trucks, campers or vehicles with dark tinted windows.

* Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

* Instead of one big shopping trip, try several small ones to cut down on the amount of money you are carrying or the number or packages you will have to transport to your car.

* Park in well lit areas.

* If you write a check, give only the necessary information, never your social security number.

* Safeguard your credit cards or checks just as you do your cash. Do not leave them in jacket pockets or sitting out in restaurants, stores, or hotel rooms.

* Keep your purse or wallet on you. Shoulder straps should be worn across your body, not hanging on your shoulder.

* Make a list of all your credit cards and debit cards and keep it in a safe place at home.

* Use ATM machines in secure locations and shield your PIN number from others.

* Always keep your receipts and reconcile your account to check for discrepancies.

The number one thing to remember is to report it to the police immediately if you are victimized.

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