Protect Your Home and Identity during the Holidays

You’re focused on giving during the holidays, but crooks are focused on taking.  Thieves look for opportunities when you least expect it, so by doing these simple steps, you can protect yourself.   MGM Association Management and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) offer the following tips to protect you and your home from theft during the holidays.

  • If you plan to travel during the holidays and will be away from your house, call your local post office to stop the delivery of your mail until you return.
  • Leave an internal light on with a timer adjustment that coincides to regular use is an excellent idea to deter thieves.
  • Motion lights can be installed at the front and back of your house and serve as an inexpensive deterrent.
  • It is MGM’s mission to engage neighbors to reach out to each other in times like this; however, use your judgement, as it may be best to not let those you hardly know of your itinerary.
  • Don’t share your travel plans online; keep your itinerary to yourself.
  • Crowded malls and distracted shoppers are the perfect combination for a pick-pocket. Clutch purses closely with wallets at the bottom or in an inside coat pocket.
  • Don’t’ carry cash. Charge your purchases or, if necessary, use a debit card.  Credit cards are safer than debit cards.  You can dispute a credit card purchase before paying it.  With a debit card, the money goes out of your account immediately. 
  • Guard your PIN at the ATM. If someone is standing too close, ask him or her to step back.  Thieves can install devices that read your information without you knowing.  If you notice anything odd, use another ATM.
  • Don’t’ let your credit card out of your sight. Unscrupulous clerks or waiters can copy your card or use a card reader that duplicates the card or sells your information.
  • When shopping, remove everything from your wallet that you don’t need. If it’s stolen, thieves won’t get as much.  Leave your Social security card home, along with your checkbook; carry only the checks you’ll need.
  • Make copies of both sides of your credit cards. If you lose your wallet, you’ll have easy access to account and phone numbers, allowing you to alert your bank immediately. 
  • Check your credit card statements for unauthorized purchases as soon as they arrive, or check them online regularly. If anything is amiss, notify your bank immediately.  This will likely remove any obligation you might have for fraudulent purchases.
  • Secure all personal information even while at home. During the holidays, you may have guests in your home, so remove temptation by putting personal information out of sight.
  • Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service, which will alert you to activity on your credit record. Such services are offered by all the major credit bureaus.

If you are victimized by ID theft, contact an NFCC Member Agency at (800) 388-2227, or go online   To contact MGM Association Management for additional tips to keep your home safe, call (208) 846-9189 or visit