Theft prevention tips for the holidays

December 13, 2013 

During the holiday be careful not to have your joy spoiled by crooks.

Here are some suggestions from Lee’s Summit Police Department and other sources. 

“Some of the key things I think we might see this year are thefts from vehicles (take valuables with you, lock doors, put purchases in trunk while shopping then remove immediately when you get home),” said Beth Glover, Lee’s Summit Police Department Community Interaction Officer.

Also, watch out for Craigslist and eBay scams, she said. 

Glover suggests always using a credit card for online purchases. A debit card doesn’t have as many protections under federal law and if someone uses your card for an unauthorized purchase, the money is taken out of your account immediately.

 “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t buy discounted gift cards from individuals online, as they may not be loaded with credit and/or could be stolen,” Glover said.

 If you sell something online, take cash only. Checks could be stolen or fake. Learn how to detect fake money, go to

Think twice before purchasing used electronics from online vendors like Craigslist or eBay. Sometimes people post items for sale that they’ve stolen from others. Electronics like iPhones, tablets, and laptops seem to be some of the most common stolen goods found for sale online.

To protect your home from a break in by following these safety tips:

Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment.

Leave exterior lights on after dark.

Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.

Always close your blinds when you’re away from home.

If you go out for the evening, turn on lights and a radio or TV so the house or apartment appears to be occupied.

Other tips for avoiding common online seasonal scams:

Electronic greeting cards may contain malware, or malicious software. 

Requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams and may originate from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities

Screensavers or other forms of media that may contain malware

Credit card applications that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts

Online shopping advertisements that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts from bogus retailers

Shipping notifications that may be phishing scams or may contain malware

When in doubt do not open, or click on links or attachments.

More tips can be found at the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team website:

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