BCAA offers advice to help you protect yourself from holiday theft
BURNABY, BC, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - While the holiday season is regarded as a
time for giving, thieves see it as a time for taking. And, as visions
of expensive presents dance in burglars' heads, the British Columbia
Automobile Association (BCAA) warns shoppers and families to be extra
vigilant with possessions, credit cards and any suspicious activity you
may see at shopping centres and around your neighborhood.
According to BCAA, the holiday season brings about more break-ins,
stolen credit cards and other theft-related insurance claims as retail
shopping increases and families are away from home attending social
gatherings or on vacation. "A burglary of your home or vehicle, or
having your credit card stolen can shatter your peace-of-mind," says
Brooke Moss, BCAA Home Insurance product manager. "So, it's good to
know what thieves are looking for and how to avoid common mistakes."
Most burglars check for four things, says Moss: something worth
stealing, easy access to your home or vehicle, low visibility, and a
home that is unoccupied. If all of these conditions are met, you become
BCAA claims data shows items stolen during the holidays are typically
high in value, light and portable making them ideal for thieves seeking
an easy cash sale. The ten most stolen items reported to BCAA's claim
department include: jewellery, digital cameras, home theatre equipment,
iPods, CDs, DVDs, cash, gift certificates, video games, and computer
equipment. According to BCAA, the average theft claim over the holidays
is around $3,000.
BCAA offers the following tips to help prevent burglars from stealing
your holiday goods:
While you're shopping and using credit cards
Don't leave any valuables visible in your car, or even in your trunk.
Thieves pay close attention to items being loaded into a car. Also, try
to park in well-lit and high traffic areas.
Beware of strangers approaching you. Con artists may try various schemes
to distract you, with the intention of nabbing your wallet, handbag or
Be discreet when entering your pin numbers. Identity thieves may use
cell phone cameras to take photos of credit cards or video footage of
cardholders keying in their codes.
When purchasing online, always use trusted, secure websites. Look for a
padlock or key symbol, typically located on the bottom corner of the
Keep an eye on credit and debit card balances to be sure that the
charges listed are correct.
Store gifts in a room so they're not on display and cannot be seen from
outside your home.
After Christmas, don't leave packaging from expensive items in the
recycling, garbage, outside your door or at the curb. Thieves can tell
from packaging what you now own inside.
Consider installing an alarm and/or motion-sensor lights around your
home. Alarm systems may save you money on your home insurance. Check
with your insurance advisor for details.
Make your home look occupied. Change which lights you leave on when
you're away. Use timers for lights, or a TV and/or radio. Lower the
volume of your phone ringer and answering machine. Hearing an
unanswered phone or answering machine tells thieves you're not home.
Prevent easy access to your home. Ensure tools or ladders are stored
away and never leave a house key hidden outside. Keep the door between
the garage and the house locked.
Going away for the holidays?
Ask a friend or neighbour to park in your driveway on occasion, and
either stop delivery of your mail and newspaper, or have them collected
Never post your plans to travel away from home on any social media space
such as Facebook or Twitter, or on your voicemail/answering machine.
Be advised that most home insurance policies do not cover loss caused by
leaking or frozen pipes while your house is unoccupied for more than
four consecutive days, unless you have taken reasonable care to
maintain heat in the building and arranged for someone to check on your
home OR you have shut off your water supply and drained your pipes.
Consult your insurance advisor to make sure you're protected
Ensure newly purchased items, or items such as special jewellery that
might only get used at this time of year, are adequately covered for
theft or loss.
Keep an itemized list and original receipts of gifts you've purchased.
If gifts are stolen from your home or car, having a record will help
make the insurance claims process much easier.
BCAA is committed to building a reputation for trust, friendliness and
helpfulness as it meets the automotive, road travel and insurance needs
of Members and Customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon. With over 100
years experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million, a BCAA
Membership card can be found in the wallets of over 786,000 British
Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. BCAA is the largest
organization of its kind in B.C. and has received national recognition
for its home insurance customer service. To learn more about BCAA's
products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsfbcaa.com.
SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association
For further information: For further information:
|or to request an interview, please contact: || |
Niela Melanio, BCAA Public Affairs Advisor
Office: 604-268-5342 Cell: 778-228-8859
Brooke Moss, BCAA Home Insurance Product Manager