Sgt. Jereme Leslie and the Saanich Police warn residents to be cautious about storing gifts in plain sight during the holiday shopping season. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Stay free of theft and scams this holiday season

Saanich Police offer suggestions for a happy holiday

It happens every year.

Holiday shoppers hop from one store to the next, only to return to their car and find the gifts they left visible are gone. Often, the doors were left unlocked.

While shopping is a big part of Christmas, so are charity drives. Beware, there are plenty on the naughty list looking to take advantage of warm hearts by running false holiday fundraising campaigns.

Here are a few safety tips from the Saanich Police, protectors of safe and happy holiday. Some of them are obvious, but bear repeating, as unlocked doors result in thousands of lost goods each year.

  • At home: Display the tree and not the gifts. Wait until Christmas Eve to put out eye-catching gifts.
  • When shopping: Park in a well-lit area, ensure doors are locked, shopping bags and purchases are out of sight.
  • Be aware of scams! The Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects data and intelligence on Mass Marketing Fraud (telemarketing), advanced‐fee fraud letters (Nigerian letters), internet fraud and identity theft complaints.
  • Is that a real charity you’re donating to? If you’re approached by someone suspicious don’t feel pressure to donate right away and call Police. You can also contact the Canada Revenue Agency to see if the charity is registered
  • If making a purchase online or through classified ads, arrange to meet at a neutral, public location and do not go alone. You don’t know who is on the other side of the transaction.
  • Online shopping delivery: Prevent parcel theft by requesting a signature for packages so they’re not left unattended at your door. Schedule delivery to your place of work or other destination if you’re not going to be home.
  • Keep ladders (often left out during Christmas light season) away from the home so criminals aren’t tempted to climb through a window.
  • Going away? Use timers for lights, lock all doors and windows.
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