Don’t let holiday theft or scams take the joy out of the holidays. This holiday gift (insurance) guide can help you keep your holidays full of joy and save money.
‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. Even before the pandemic, more and more people were shopping online for gifts for their loved ones. Nearly 49% of Americans received at least one package per week in 2020. Unfortunately, with an increase in delivered packages, theft is a more likely occurrence by “Porch Pirates.” 43% of Americans said they had at least one package stolen from their porch in 2020, and almost 2/3rds of those households say they’ve been struck by porch pirates more than once. Most theft incidents occur during the daylight hours than at night.
What can you do to protect your purchases this holiday season?
- Install a doorbell camera. This smart home technology can record videos of your porch and entryway. Recordings from your camera can be provided to law enforcement or your insurance company as proof of theft.
- Install motion sensor lights. These will deter thieves during non-daylight hours.
- Have the carrier hold your package. FedEx, UPS, and USPS can offer to hold your package at their local facility or store for you to pick up at your convenience.
- Arrange for alternative delivery. Many online stores offer alternative ways to receive your packages. Amazon offers scheduled delivery, can have your parcel delivered to an Amazon locker. Other options would be sending your gifts to your office, an alternate address, or leaving them with a trusted neighbor.
- Don’t display gifts in your home where they are visible from outside your home.
- Make sure doors and windows are locked when you leave.
- Install additional security measures, such as a doorbell, home alarm, or other smart home solutions.
- Keep items out of sight in your car. If you shop at brick-and-mortar stores, make sure to put your gifts somewhere thieves can’t see them,
- Make sure doors and windows are locked on your vehicle when you’re not in it.
- Don’t leave your keys in the car or leave the vehicle running unattended.
Help! I’ve fallen victim to a holiday Grinch!
Don’t fear; not all is lost if you become a victim of gift theft. Your homeowners, condo, or renters insurance may help you recover some of your financial losses from the theft.
- Dwelling coverage pays for repairs to your home if your home suffers damage during the theft. If you are a renter, the landlord’s insurance will cover the damage to the property.
- Personal property coverage pays for the stolen items.
- Other structures coverage pays for repair to detached structures, like a storage shed.
Contact your agent or account manager if you need to file a claim for stolen gifts. You will likely need to have your tracking number, tracking details, and evidence of the theft to be covered for the loss. Should your package be lost in transit, your homeonwers insurance will most likely not cover this loss–instead, contact the seller for reparations.
Be wary of holiday scams.
Online shopping scams are pretty much a given during the holidays. Don’t fall for those too-good-to-be-true deals that pop up in your email box. These offers may disguise themselves as Black Friday deals, one-day-only sales, or last-minute shopping deals.
If a website demands payments solely through gift cards or wire transfers, these are red flags for fraud. Use credit cards for your purchases for an added layer of security (not debit cards tied to your banking accounts).
During this season of giving, many donate to charities during the holiday season. Be diligent in vetting the organizations that may ask for your generosity. If you’re not familiar with the charity, you verify a charity’s TIN by calling the charity or finding it listed on their website.
Here are some tips from the FBI to avoid holiday scams:
- Use strong passwords. Use different passwords for each financial account.
- Check bank and credit card transactions frequently. Look for suspicious purchases around and after the holidays.
- Never give away personal information. Don’t give your Social Security Number, birth date, or other information you don’t want anyone to know.
- Be wary of giveaways and promotions that request your personal information.
Source: Forbes Advisor