12/17/13 Christmas is right around the corner, which means many will be making the final push to finish shopping and arrange travel plans. Indiana State Police (ISP) and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) are reminding Hoosiers to take the extra precautions to avoid a Grinch ruining their holidays. This includes being smart about what information is posted to social media.
“If leaving for an extended period of time, do not discuss your plans with strangers or post them to social media sites,” said ISP Capt. Dave Bursten. “You could be setting yourself up as a potential target to thieves.”
Bursten also recommends Hoosiers avoid advertising recent expensive purchases on social media.
IDHS advises citizens to review the privacy policies and settings on social media sites.
“Privacy settings can vary greatly between social media sites,” said IDHS Senior Public Information Officer John Erickson. “Make sure you understand how these settings work in order to prevent people you don’t know or trust from potentially seeing your information.”
An explanation of these settings can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, among others.
In addition to being cyber smart, Hoosiers should keep the following information in mind when out shopping:
· Be aware of your surroundings in any store and the parking lot.
· Park in a well-lit area and always keep your vehicle locked.
· Notify building security or another employee if you notice a person or persons acting suspiciously in the store or the parking lot.
· Do not leave wrapped or unwrapped gifts in a vehicle where others can see them. Place them in the trunk or cover them with a blanket or other object so they can’t be seen.
· If a fire alarm sounds, leave your shopping carts and bags and evacuate the building immediately. No bargain is worth ignoring a fire alarm.
Hoosiers traveling this holiday season should also take these steps to help ensure the security of all items in the home.
· When away, have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your home.
· Use light timers to turn on lights or a TV when away to give the appearance someone is home.
· Use window coverings such as curtains or blinds to decrease visibility into the home.
· Label valuable items, such as stereos, computers, movie players, and televisions with an identification number unique to the owner.
· Create an up-to-date home inventory list, and store it in a secure location.