With the holiday season here, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public to remember the following safety tips:
Please remember to always lock your vehicle and remove all of your valuable property, especially your holiday gifts. Vehicle burglaries occur during this season because many people drop off their purchased gifts to their vehicle and go back into the store for more shopping, leaving their vehicles and gifts unattended.
Always take your purse or wallet with you – never leave it in your car. Use a shoulder-strap purse to prevent your purse being taken from a shopping cart, a counter or the floor by a thief.
To prevent the theft of packages being delivered to your home when you are not there, request from the company you are ordering from or shipper that USPS, UPS or FedEx requires your signature before your packages are delivered. Or, if possible, request a hold for your packages for pickup at the nearest pickup location- this is an easy way to avoid your packages from being stolen from your front porch.
Burglars know that a holiday tree showcased in the front window means presents will be underneath it. Close your blinds while you are away from home and reinforce all of your windows and sliding doors with additional locks.
Keep your garage door closed at all times to prevent thefts from your garage, vehicle or home. Also, remove the garage door remote when you park in your driveway or on the street.
If you go out of town for a holiday vacation, make your house look “lived in.” Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper every day. Place timers on different lamps, televisions and radios throughout the house, at different days and times, to give the illusion of an occupied home.
When shopping online, consider using a third-party service such as disposable credit card numbers or PayPal to pay for online purchases. This protects your personal credit card information, reducing the risk of fraud.
To avoid being a victim of a charity scam, do not give personal information, including credit card and bank account details, in response to unsolicited requests, especially over the phone. If you want to give during this holiday season, contact the charity of your choice to find out how you can make a donation to their organization.
If an offer, product or service sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for the scam.
Keep your credit card receipts in a safe place and review your credit card, ATM card or checking account statements for activity that may indicate fraud or identity theft. If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, call the credit reporting agencies to put an alert on your accounts and call the Sheriff’s Department non-emergency number (949) 770-6011 or (714) 647-7000 to report the fraud or identity theft.
Residents are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department non-emergency number (949) 770-6011 or (714) 647-7000 to report any suspicious solicitors they observe at their door or in the neighborhood, and to report other types of suspicious people or activity.
Remember, crime can happen anywhere at any time. Please be proactive and safe these next few months.
Happy Holidays from Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.