Written by Laura-Lee Walker
There’ll be shoppers for scamming
Valuables for stealing
And drunk driving out in the snow
There’ll be scary homicidal stories
And tales of the nightmares of
Christmases long, long ago
It’s the most dangerous time of the year
-Adaptation of Andy Williams: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
There’s a dark under belly to Christmas lurking beneath the cheery façade of mistletoe, candy canes and nativity scenes.
Christmas is a time when there are spikes in incidents of depression reported by health professionals. An estimated 45 per cent of people dread the holiday.
It’s also a time when many get angry about the extreme commercialization of Christmas and incurring more dept. Many focus excessively on inadequacies, loneliness and expectations surrounding spending time with family members.
Shoplifting is one of the most frequent crimes committed during the holidays. Thieves capitalize on busy stores with preoccupied employees.
Vehicle theft also increases significantly at Christmas because shoppers often leave gifts that are ripe for the picking in their cars. It’s important that you make sure your car is locked and your valuables are hidden.
Identity theft, both online and offline, occurs as criminals find ways to steal your credit card number, Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other personal information. They doing this using fake invoices, password reset requests, grabbing your wallet, pretext calls and sending emails with malicious code that allows the attacker to hack into the victim’s computer. Seniors are especially vulnerable to these types of attacks.
Other common scams include holiday e-cards and desktop screensavers that deliver malware, and social networking friends requests that result in timeline posts with malicious links.
Be careful what you click on when opening emails. Don’t accept friend requests from those you don’t know and review your monthly banking statements.
Family tension, alcohol and drug consumption, stress from dept, and proximity to loved ones can result in people acting out violently towards their partners. It’s an even more dangerous time for those that are already victims of abuse. Report all incidents of domestic violence to the police before they escalate.
Criminals know that houses often contain more valuables around from people sending and receiving gifts, and prey on the houses that are easiest to break into. Learn how to protect your home by thinking like a burglar.
Holidays are often a time for excessive drinking, whether from celebrations with friends and family or to cope with the stresses surrounding Christmas. As a result, drinking and driving is fairly common.
Use free services, such as Operation Red Nose, that offer to drive you home safely after a night of drinking.
Legitimate companies aren’t the only ones vying for your dollars before Christmas. Christmas shoppers are duped into buying knock-off toys, jerseys, make-up, body lotions, electronics and perfume, to name a few.
The knock-offs can be extremely dangerous to both adults and children. Many counterfeit electronics catch fire or explode. Products applied topically can irritate the skin and even cause blindness. Toys can be a choking hazard. Education is your best line of defence. Learn how to spot counterfeit websites and products.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones from Kusic and Kusic Private Investigators, the authorized Number 1 PI firm from the North Pole! Stay safe.
Laura-Lee is an open-source intelligence analyst at Kusic and Kusic Private Investigators. She specializes in litigation support, background checks, and online investigations.
Photo Source: Flickr