NOW that the holiday season is getting into full swing, the Spanish National Police has issued a list of 10 preventative guidelines to help you avoid becoming a victim of crime, both in the real world and online.
As much as it’s important to relax and have fun at Christmas, it is also important to stay safe and be alert.
1. It is essential to keep children safe at all times. In Christmas markets, commercial areas, or parades, do not let your children out of your sight. To be extra safe, write down your phone number on their wrists, or give them identifying bracelets.
2. In crowds, always pay special attention to your belongings: handbags, wallets, mobile phones. Don’t go out with large quantities of cash, hang your handbag over the front of your body, don’t keep important objects in your back pockets, and keep your documentation, keys, and money in separate places.
3. If you are going to shop online, be wary of products which offer prices well below the market price, or of salespeople who don’t give out data which will allow you to track them down. Carry out these purchases with caution and make sure that you are using reputable websites. You should also avoid giving out your banking information or passwords if you are using a public Wi-Fi network.
4. Additionally, you should take precautions when you make physical purchases in shops. Check that the charges correspond to the items that you have bought and keep all receipts and verifications of your purchases.
5. During the holidays it is common for us to receive congratulatory messages or messages from charitable organisations while online. Remember however, that dubious links or files could be linked to malware which may steal your data or access your e-mail account for malicious uses. Don’t open suspicious links and be wary of unfamiliar e-mail addresses.
6. If you go on holiday, take precautionary measures when you leave your home. Don’t forget to lock and bolt your doors as thoroughly as possible before heading away. Remember not to leave signals that your home will be uninhabited, and don’t post messages on social networks indicating how long you will be gone.
7. Additionally, if you are going away for Christmas, you should clearly identify all of your belongings before boarding the plane. Never check-in other people’s baggage under your name. Always keep an eye on your suitcases and belongings and avoid travelling with large quantities of money in your handbag or suitcase.
8. With regards to scams, there are ‘classics’ which come back every Christmas. A common one involves con artists who lure in passersby with flashy tricks involving cards, glasses, or nutshells. They encourage people to try to track down a hidden object. Don’t participate in this so-called ‘game,’ as you are sure to lose.
9. Buy your lottery tickets in authorised places. Check to make sure that the ticket contains a logo, a barcode, and all of the other elements of verification. If you buy it online, always use a reliable website. Don’t let the ticket get too worn or you could have problems if you win, and remember that tickets typically expire in three months. Good luck!
10. If you buy a lottery ticket with family and friends, it is advisable to photocopy the ticket and specify who is participating and outline how much money each person has contributed.
Over Christmas, the National Police has implemented a special increased police presence to strengthen security and prevent crimes like thefts, robberies, and fraud. The number of officers has been increased in busier areas, especially ones with high degrees of commercial activity, traditional markets, and fun and leisure zones.