For all of us celebrating American Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family.
As with every year – this year I am especially thankful for you, the best readers in the world!
It may not be Thanksgiving Day where you live, but I still wish you a day full of many things that you are thankful for, whether it’s family, friends, a warm home, good food, happy memories, or time to read.
While most people spend Thanksgiving with loved ones and gorging on turkey and pie, some people have more sinister plans. For scam artists and thieves, the holidays pose a whole different meaning and set of opportunities. As a crime writer, I see too many of these stories every year.
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is especially busy for cops and private detectives such as Agents Otto and Gaspar who try to crack down on crime. Although violent incidences increase as much as 20% during this time of year, the majority of holiday crimes are theft and burglaries. Retail crime can increase as much as 30% over the holidays.
Each year, organized crime rings steal thousands worth of merchandise that ranges from designer jeans to electronics. The stolen items are then sold on the black market or to unsuspecting buyers. These thieves might not be who you suspect and they could be anywhere! Some shoplifters bring children or strollers with them to appear less suspicious. Not even grocery stores are safe from holiday theft. In 2015, a young boy from the San Antonio area became infamous for attempting to steal $200 dollars worth of turkey and fixings for Thanksgiving.
To protect yourself while preparing for the holidays, follow Kim Otto’s advice and make sure you are always aware of your surroundings. You may also consider installing security cameras or flood lights around your property. When parking, make sure you park in well-lit, populated areas.
Even if you to choose to stay at home to avoid overcrowded malls, you might still be at risk if you shop on your computer. Be wary of online deals offering huge discounts, especially on high priced products. There are many fictitious “pop-up” shops that appear online to take advantage of eager holiday shoppers. To avoid being conned, experts recommend sticking to well-known stores and brands that you are familiar with.
Another common scam many people fall victim to are fake holiday giveaways that are often shared on Facebook or social media offering expensive prizes such as free flights or brand-name products. The victims of these scams are urged to provide sensitive information in exchange for entering to win a non-existent prize. Yikes!
Despite the risks, I hope you stay safe this Thanksgiving and enjoy the many pleasures this season has to offer.
Leave a comment and let me know your favorite Thanksgiving tradition! I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what to do after over-indulging, check out this blog post here.