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  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes. And don't forget to lock them when you are at home.

  • Don't display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Store them away until needed. Even empty wrapped boxes are inviting to criminals. 

  • Make sure to keep ALL receipts for purchases, not only to make needed exchanges but also to check against credit card statements. 

  • Mark all new purchases of electronic equipment with identification numbers, and keep a record of the serial number, make, and model for insurance. 

  • Jewelry and expensive clothing should have identification marks or engravings of some type. 

  • Be wary of solicitations for charitable donations. If in doubt, call the telephone number of the organization in the telephone directory. 

  • Check your credit history after the holidays to make sure your identity has not been comprised.

  • Test smoke detectors and replace batteries.

  • Use only fire resistant ornaments on a holiday tree, and make sure electric lights are in good working order. Don't leave them on overnight or when you are away, even if only for a short time.

  • If you have a fireplace, make sure to keep your tree and other decorations at a safe distance from the fire box.

  • If you have houseguests, advise them of your security precautions and make sure they follow them.

  • Be extra careful of strangers coming to your door. Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. The applies to businesses as well as residences.

  • After the fun, don't take the boxes from expensive gifts to the trash without cutting them up and taking any identifiable information from them. If your community has a recycling bin close, cut the boxes up and put them in it. At the very least, put boxes inside a non-clear trash bag.

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