BBB officials and law enforcement note that the holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. They offer the following tips to help homeowners be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.
• Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
• When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
• Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
• Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
• Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
• When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
• Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
• If you use lights on your Christmas tree, ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.
• Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
• Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.
What to Know Before You Answer Your Door:
Criminals take advantage of the holiday season to prey on those who are unsuspecting and generous. Be careful when someone you do not know comes to your door during the holiday season.
• Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
• It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
• Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
• Donate to a recognized charitable organization. You may find information on charities that meet BBB standards at bbb.org/charities.