For consumers, Christmas and New Year is the time, we allow ourselves to splash out.
For retailers, the weeks leading up to it, may account for up to 60% of their annual revenue. It’s no wonder many unscrupulous elements in society take advantage of this period to attack homes and shops.
From a marked increase in shoplifting and home burglaries to the increase in house fires and online fraud, Christmas brings both goodwill and festive cheer, but a hefty dollop of accidents. 80,000 of us Brits end up in hospital over the holidays. Grinch-like criminals cause the burglary rate to go up 25% this period. 20 people a day are killed or injured in accidental fires across the UK.
A report by insurance companies and the London Met showed the leading cause of Christmas tragedies.
Staying safe this period is a combination of knowledge, awareness, and preparation.
At SRL Limited, we compiled our top tips for keeping safe and secure this new year:
Stay Safe Whilst Shopping Online.
In our quest for the best deals, we often turn to the web. Fraudsters know this and set up spoof sites to extract your credit card details. Spotting a spoof site from a real retailer can often be quite difficult, but apply these tips and you’ll be fine:
• Aim to always use only online merchants and retailers that you are aware of.
• Protect yourself and check the fine print for delivery, returns, warranty and insurance policies.
• Install a top of the range antivirus to protect you from potential malware delivered via e-cards.
• On auction sites, always use the recommended payment methods. Never transfer cash to a seller.
Stay Safe from Fire.
There were more fires at home, 2,700 in total, in December 2013 than at any other time of year. Most of them were accidental, but destructive nonetheless. The long cooking hours, that extra glass of champagne can all add to the distractions of Christmas, leaving you more ‘relaxed’ than usual. Stay sharp and keep these tips in mind for a fire-free holiday celebration:
• All smoke alarms must receive the gift of new batteries, this Christmas.
• Never leave the cooking unattended. The same goes for burning candles. If you must, use faux candles around this time for that traditional glow. Real candles are responsible for over 40% of home decoration fires.
• Be mindful of overloading sockets. Stick with one plug per socket.
• Spread good cheer by offering to help test out smoke alarms for your neighbours; especially if they have decreased mobility.
Stay Safe from Burglars.
• A third of all burglaries take place via unlocked doors or windows. So, if you are going out for New Year, double check that all doors, patio doors and windows are secure.
• Pressies opened? Don’t leave them in full view, by windows and front doors. Also don’t advertise you receipt of expensive gifts by leaving the packaging of your new 4k TV outside.
• Do not go on social media talking about what you got, thereby making your house an Aladdin’s cave of treasure for burglars.
• Avoid discussing travel plans on social media.
• If going on holiday, use automatic timers to mimic your lighting patterns in the house.
• Your home all lit up in festive spirit? Ensure you use battery operated models of Christmas lights instead of extension cables that require a window being open a notch or two.
In spite of your best efforts, accidents still happen. In the event that they do, it’s best to be prepared:
• If you suspect your card details have been stolen, quickly report this to the police, your bank and Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk.
• If your home is burgled, call the police and a professional locksmith to come and secure the premises.
• All homes must have a fire extinguisher per room. Familiarise yourself with its use and you can prevent small mistakes from turning to huge disasters.
Remember, it’s not only Santa you should be on the lookout for this period. Being mindful of possible danger and knowing how you can protect yourself from them will go a long way in ensuring you have a wonderful New Year celebration. Keep safe and secure this New Year.