HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ — As the holiday season continues through New Year’s, shoppers will return to stores for post-holiday sales, returns, and exchanges. In the midst of the shopping chaos, people can easily forget their safety and security while they shop during this time of the year.
It all begins at home. Hasbrouck Heights Chief Michael Colaneri reminds people to secure all doors and windows whenever leaving home. Failing to lock all doors and windows when leaving home, is one of the most common mistakes leading to home burglaries. Leave a light on in one or two rooms as this will give the home the appearance of being occupied when away.
He also points out to never leave the garage door opener in an unlocked car, doing so could give thieves access to the garage, or the home, if the garage is attached.
Additionally, the Wood-Ridge Fire Department reminds people that overloaded outlets and extension cords are a problem during Christmas and throughout the whole year. Defective lighting, including electrical cords and plugs contribute to almost half of all Christmas tree fires.
People also should be diligent to insure their packages arrive safetly, according to Karen Mazurkiewicz, a communications specialist for the U.S. Postal Service for Central Pennsylvania and Western New York.
“Know the tracking number for your packages so you can get it off the front porch right away,” she said. “Ship your packages to work, and when you go to order a package, request that someone needs to sign for it.”
Cyber trolls can also pose threats during the holidays, and consumers should be cautious during the busy retail season, whether in stores or online.
“Treat your sensitive personal information – including your credit and debit card numbers – like you would a child. Know who you’re providing custody of that information to and how they will protect it,” said Rob Douglas, national identity theft expert. “Additionally, never click on advertising links in emails you receive, even if they appear to be from merchants with whom you regularly do business. Instead, go directly to the merchant’s website and find the offer you want to respond to on their site.”
Douglas also warns of shoulder-surfers when entering PINs for debit cards, and to watch for POS (Point of Sale) systems that look unusual or aren’t physically secure as they may have card-skimming overlays.