Community First

Christmas Crime Prevention Advice From Neighbourhood Alert

It's the time of year when people have valuable Christmas gifts stored in their homes and temptation increases for burglars.

The following crime prevention tips will help you to reduce the risk of becoming a sneak-in burglary victim, particularly during the winter months -
• Always secure and lock your doors and windows, even if you are just popping out or when you are in the back garden.
• Close all curtains when it is dark.
• Don't leave Christmas presents under the tree in full view of burglars who may be peering through windows - keep them in a secure place until the big day.
• Don't put your empty boxes from Christmas presents (or any new purchases) out until your recycling collection day.
• Shopping for Christmas can be busy and stressful - watch out for pickpockets, keep bags zipped up and ensure wallets and purses are not visible. Never hang handbags on pushchairs or shopping trolleys.
• Don't leave your shopping on display in your car - keep it out of sight in the boot and make sure your car is secure.
• Keep the thieves out – don't give them an easy opportunity, keep doors and windows locked.
• Keep valuables out of sight – don't leave car keys on show near doors and windows and put items such as laptops, mobile phones and purses away from prying eyes.
• Don't leave keys in the locks or within grabbing distance through letter-boxes or open windows.
• Use security marking tools, such as SmartWater or permanent UV marker pens.
• Use timer switches to turn lights on and give the impression there is someone in. Choose lights in rooms that are normally occupied - no one will believe you're in if the only light on is in the hall!
• If it is cold outside, it can be tempting to invite callers in, but be sure you know who they are before you do.
• Never leave your car unlocked or unattended with the engine running while the car is defrosting.


Keep your shopping safe online
Most of us will be buying more online this festive season. It's fantastic being able to take advantage of the convenience, choice and value brought by the Internet, but unfortunately it is also a favourite haunt of fraudsters. That's why it's especially important to safeguard yourself, your family and finances when you're buying online.
The following safety tips from Get Safe Online will help you from falling victim to seasonal scams.
• Make sure a website is authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Ideally, type it in rather than clicking on a link in an email, text or post. It's easy for scammers to set up fake websites that are very similar to the real thing.
• Make sure payment pages are secure by checking that addresses begin with 'https' ('s' is for secure) and there's a closed padlock in the address bar. The https and closed padlock mean that the page is secure, but the site could still be operated by fraudsters.
• Social media sites/apps and online forums are a popular place for advertising gifts, tickets and holidays. Many are genuine, but you need to be aware that others are fraudulent. Be extra vigilant about checking that such ads are authentic.
• However desperate you are to buy that late present or an item that's in short supply, don't pay for it by transferring money directly to people or companies you don't know. If it's a fraud, your bank may not be able to recover or refund your money. If you can, pay by credit card. The same goes for holidays, travel and tickets.
• Log out of the web page or app when payment is completed. Simply closing it may not log you out automatically.
• Don't knowingly buy fake or counterfeit goods and do all you can to make sure brands you do buy are genuine. Fakes are of inferior quality, contravene copyright law and affect the livelihoods of workers who make the real thing. They can also be unsafe in use.
• 'Low-cost' or 'free' trials can cause problems if you don't read the small print and look for independent reviews. Whether they're for the latest handset or slimming pills, you could be signing up for large monthly direct debits which are very hard to cancel. And if it's for slimming or any other pills, check our advice on Buying Medicines Online on the Get Safe Online website.
• Learn how to spot fraudulent emails, texts or DMs, or fraudulent offers on social media. At this time of year, emails and other messages featuring 'special offers' and 'prizes' are commonplace. Don't click on links in emails, texts or posts that you're not expecting, and don't open unexpected email attachments.
• Text messages and emails purporting to be sent by home delivery firms are also on the increase, commonly informing you that there's a charge for re-delivering a parcel, or a shipping fee to be paid. However busy you are or how much online shopping you do, keep a record of everything you buy and, if possible, which parcel delivery firm the retailer is using.
• Check that Christmas or New Year breaks you book online are genuine by carrying out thorough research. Look for independent reviews, and make sure travel agents / tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ATOL number. It's always best to pay by credit card for extra protection.

For more information on buying safely online, visit www.getsafeonline.org.
If you think you've been a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre on 0300 123 20 40 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Don't let thieves spoil your Christmas!

Please feel free to contact us via any of the below methods if you need help and advice in relation to the content of this Alert message.

Please feel free to contact us via any of the below methods if you need help and advice in relation to the content of this Alert message.

Facebook – send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
Phone – call us on 101.

Posted: Thu, 16 Dec 2021 12:29 by Sara Atkinson

Tags: Crime & Disorder, Press Releases