Keep Your Christmas Tree Away From Windows and Other Ways to Avoid Holiday Hacking

Dr. Seuss’ book How the Grinch Stole Christmas tries to warn us. “Home Alone” too. Although winter is not the peak season for burglaries , it does offer would-be burglars and intruders some unique opportunities for shenanigans. After all, there’s no better time than the colder months when people leave their homes and go on vacation somewhere warm, and even better if you’ve left a bunch of expensive new gifts under the tree or lounging around the house.

There are things you can do to better protect your home during the cold season, even if you are away for an extended period of time. The first, of course, is to install a home security system, including cameras ( and install them well ). But here are some less obvious tips.

The holiday is not displayed in the window

What good is a Christmas tree if it is not visible from the street, broadcasting your festive mood and ability to decorate the interior to passers-by? A lot of good actually, because this ostentatious window tree is a beacon for would-be thieves. It says: “There are gifts and nice things here.”

According to home security expert Beth Priestley: “When you’re away, you need to make sure that valuables are hidden from view as much as possible, especially if you live on the ground floor or on a busy street. While wrapped gifts under the tree look beautiful, for thieves looking out the window, it shows exactly where potentially expensive items are located that can be easily sold.

Don’t Share Your Vacation Plans Too Freely

Holidays make us feel friendly and neighborly. You might want to sit down and talk about the blessings of the season with the person next to you at the diner. That’s fine, but don’t tell them anything about your vacation plans.

Priestley says the “sad fact” is that many burglars live close to the people they steal from, so “it’s best not to discuss your plans for Christmas with anyone other than close friends and family.”

No real-time posting on social media (or keep them blocked)

This will be tricky if you’re on an extended vacation, but for the most part, try not to post your real-time location on social media unless your privacy settings are locked. This is good advice in general too: thousands of followers don’t need to know where you are every second, and waiting for a post helps you stay in the moment. (You’ll also seem cooler – you had too much fun to open the gram. Just saying.)

“Much evidence suggests that thieves are increasingly turning to social media for information about absent homeowners. Consider making your accounts private, and whether it’s a Christmas market or a corporate event, refrain from posting about it until you get home,” says Priestley.

Put the light on a timer

Pluggable timers may seem archaic in the era of smart plugs and phone apps, but turning on the lights in your home is a major deterrent to would-be criminals, and if you’re on vacation, you may not always remember to turn on the lights and occasionally disconnect from your phone.

Priestley recommends using an old school timer not only to program lights to turn on in the evening, but also to save money on holiday light displays if you tend to forget to turn them off before bed.

Stay on top of your Amazon shipments

Finally, according to Bob Veal , you have to be careful about making it obvious that you have a flood of gifts coming into the house. Don’t let those Amazon packages pile up at your door – you can often choose your desired delivery date at checkout, so choose a time when you’ll be home. If you’re bringing your own stuff, drive the car into the garage before unloading the trunk, if you can. To the best of your ability, you can even try shopping in small portions so that you are never seen with a huge amount of new goodies at once.


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