- Home and car insurance experts at Confused.com ask security expert Michael Fraser to tell us what burglars will be looking out for at this time of year -
19 Dec, 2011
What do thieves want to steal this Christmas and how can we make sure they don’t get it? At Confused.com we asked a security expert who knows the inside tips – because he used to be a burglar.
iPads and iPhones top the list of the burglar’s most-wanted items to steal this Christmas, followed by watches and jewellery. By adhering to former burglar Michael Fraser’s insider’s tricks you could reduce the risk of losing treasured gifts and property.
‘The Burglar’s Christmas list’
Top items likely to be stolen this Christmas, by security expert Michael Fraser:
1. iPads, iPhones: These are number one on the thief’s list this Christmas. You can protect them by having them engraved: buy them from the manufacturer and they will engrave them for you.
2. Watches, Jewellery and precious metals: These are a high priority item because they can be passed on quickly and be melted down for cash. It’s a good idea to photograph any jewellery you might have, take note of the serial number and store your precious items in a secure safe.
3. Smart phones, Blackberrys: These items again can be sold on effortlessly especially on social networking sites. Make sure you use your phone’s security locks and passwords to ensure no-one can get into your phone and don’t leave them in plain sight.
4. Laptops, notebooks: These are highly desirable. Again it’s a good idea to put a password on and keep the serial number in a safe place.
5. Cameras, video cameras: other black market items which can be moved on with relative ease. Keep them hidden.
6. Designer clothes and handbags: Thieves steal these items as they are very good gifts to pass on to people or keep for themselves. They are very hard to identify as a stolen item and are always on display on auction sites.
7. Plasmas, LCD flat screens: These items are stolen to order and you can protect yourself by not advertising them to thieves. Also remember to note down the serial number and take photographs.
8. Credit & debit cards, ID: It is still easy to clone cards from multiple victims and make money from a stolen identity. Don’t leave your pin number in your wallet, purse or phone as you will be inviting the thieves to empty your bank balance.
9. Stereo docking stations: A valuable item which can be readily sold on due to high demand as people switch from a traditional stereo to an mp3 player.
10. Antiques: Due to the popularity of antique programmes on TV people are more likely to keep an eye out and keep in mind the value of a unique item. Where possible you should make sure your insurance policies cover the cost of any antiques and ensure they have been valued. But most importantly keep them out of sight of opportunistic thieves.
Thinking like a burglar can help you to keep items safe. Michael Fraser explains:
“A burglar is likely to take anything that's wrapped up under the Christmas tree as it saves him having to buying his (or her) own gifts! People tend to rush when shopping for the Christmas break so we are not looking at what's going on around. This is where the thief will take advantage. If you put a bag down or open the boot of your car or put something on the roof of the car a thief could move in and take it.
“Because of the recession you find more people turn to bag snatching, mugging, and breaking into cars. What should you avoid? Well, people tend to love sharing their details via social networking sites about when they are out and where they live! Sharing this information could make you a target. Also someone who looks weak or maybe drunk is more likely to be a target for thieves.”
Mark Gabriel, Head of Home Insurance at Confused.com said:
“Make sure you have told your insurer about any significant items you buy over Christmas as you may wish to name them on your policy or check that you have sufficient cover. Following some of the simple tips above will also help you to keep your own and your families’ possessions safe over the Christmas holidays and all year round.”
Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com added:
“While the unlocked garage, garden shed or car boot might seem like a good temporary storage solution that keeps gifts hidden from little eyes, we'd all do well to remember to not compromise security for a quick storage solution in order to avoid a terrible surprise.”
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