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|Sarah Young (Police, PC – Cyber crime prevention officer, Wiltshire Police)|
Good morning everyone,
With the festive season now in full swing and preparations reaching the final stages for the big day, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.
Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun. But for some it can provide opportunity to take advantage of those who are vulnerable and susceptible to crime.
For a safe run up to Christmas and the New Year and to avoid becoming a victim of crime follow some of these tips;
At a cashpoint / ATM
If you see someone suspicious hanging around cancel the transaction and use another cashpoint. Consider reporting it.
- Before inserting your card have a look at the machine to check for suspicious abnormalities.
- When entering your PIN number shield it & ensure others around cannot see.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, only withdraw what you reasonably need.
Put your money and your cards away safely before leaving the machine.
Last Minute Shopping
- Park your car in a well lit car park, preferably one that’s attended.
- Before you leave your car, ensure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Check it is locked, don’t rely on the key fob.
- Avoid leaving purchases and presents in your vehicle. If you do, keep them out of sight and not on display. Avoid filling your boot of goods & continue shopping. You never know who is watching!
- Make sure your handbag is closed or your wallet is in an inside pocket as you move around to reduce temptation from a pick-pocket
- Don’t leave a bag unattended in a trolley, even if only for a couple of seconds.
- Shield when entering your PIN at a terminal ensure no one can see you enter it.
- Try to pay for items on a card rather than carrying large amounts of cash.
- Think about the item you are buying someone. Are there any security products you could purchase to help them keep them safe/secure.
- Leave it till the last minute to put Christmas presents out under the tree and don’t leave them in view of a window.
- If you are buying or receiving valuable gifts such as bikes, mobiles or electrical items register them for free at www.immobilise.com. Doing this can assist the police in returning your property should it be lost or stolen.
- If you receive any Apple products for Christmas, familiarise yourself with the Find My iPhone app, which can help you locate your electrical items if they are lost or stolen. For more information, visit Apple.
- Refrain from keeping large amounts of cash at home.
- A secure home will reduce the chance of a burglary. Make sure windows and doors are locked and remove keys from sight every time you leave the house.
- When you go out at night make it appear that someone is home. Draw the curtains and leave a light on. You could always put a lamp or radio on a timer switch.
- Dispose of packaging carefully by breaking it down before putting it in the bin. Empty boxes left outside can advertise that you have nice new goods inside.
- Ensure your home contents insurance adequately covers the additional things that you have in your home over Christmas.
- Make sure your anti-virus & protection software is up-to-date.
- Consider where your deliveries will be left – don’t ask for parcels to be left on doorsteps, in porches or behind bins.
- Think about what you write on social media about what you have been buying, and where you are or going. Be careful not to advertise that you’re out partying.
- When shopping online, or using a website where you need to enter your personal details, make sure the site is secure. Look for the padlock being displayed in the browser, and that the web address starts with ‘https//’.
- Remember that financial institutions or the Police will never ask for your online banking details by email, or ever ask you to divulge your PIN.