The West Shore RCMP is encouraging residents to be safe this holiday season, and avoid falling victim to scams and mail theft.
In a news release, the force said criminals look to the holidays as a time to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
With more and more online orders being delivered, mail thieves and porch pirates have no shortage of potential targets. To avoid becoming a victim, police advise residents to collect their mail promptly once delivered.
If you will not be home when packages are delivered, police recommend asking the courier or Canada Post to hold the package for pickup at their facilities, or to arrange for the package to be delivered at your place of work.
Mail also contains plenty of valuable personal information, so shipping labels and receipts should be shredded before being recycled.
Residents are also warned not to store any items in vehicles and to ensure any items placed in vehicles are hidden from view, and all doors are locked when left unattended.
Being safe this season doesn’t just start when orders are delivered, it starts before they have even been placed.
When shopping online, the RCMP recommends residents only shop at reputable online retailers, whose websites are secured. Secured websites can be identified with a lock symbol and “https” at the beginning of the URL in the web browser, and make it more difficult for your personal information to be stolen.
If purchasing items from individuals online, don’t complete the transaction in your home or theirs. Instead, arrange to meet in a public space like a mall or coffee shop, and if purchasing items such as a smartphone or computer, check that it has not been reported stolen.
Finally, while the holiday season often makes people feel more generous than other times of the year, the RCMP said fraudsters try to capitalize on this by creating fraudulent fundraisers. Before contributing your hard-earned cash to a good cause, its best to do some research on the Better Business Bureau of British Columbia, whose website lists legitimate charities and businesses.
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