Turns out Tennesseans are being plagued by a new form of sticker shock: fraudulent charges and identity theft following the holiday season. According to a State Farm study, January is a top month for theft claims, with Tennessee just making the list at number 10.
Top 10 States for State Farm Theft Claims in January 2014:
- California: 1,601 claims
- Texas: 1,033 claims
- Georgia: 696 claims
- Illinois: 679 claims
- Ohio: 438 claims
- Washington: 387 claims
- Arizona: 373 claims
- Alabama: 338 claims
- New York: 327 claims
- Tennessee: 323 claims
So why is there a rise in the number of theft claims being filed? Officials say it is because credit card statements arrive in January and people are reconciling their budgets and noting discrepancies. While online identity theft is also on the rise, people also travel heavily during December and January, leaving their homes exposed to burglars.
There are a few things you can do to protect your home while you are away:
- Avoid posting your vacation plans on social media, and refrain from posting pictures until after you have returned home.
- Continue your snow or lawn service, especially if you are going to be away for more than a week. Overgrown trees and shrubs are a red flag. Keeping shrubbery maintained, also keeps your home visible so burglars cannot easily hide undetected.
Dangers of Violent Home Invasions
Another threat facing homeowners is violent home invasions. Unlike a typical burglary, home invaders often conduct extensive research before entering a home. Criminals will spend the time to properly target a person or residence so make sure that you do not give them any easy clues that you are not at home. Additionally, you may already have an excellent alarm system at your fingertips that you may not have thought about: electronic car keys with a built-in alarm. Safety experts suggest keeping them in your bedroom in the event of an emergency. Sometimes the loud noises from an alarm can scare off potential burglars.
There are several other ways you can protect your family in the event of a home invasion.
- Lock your doors: nearly half of all burglars enter through an unlocked door or window.
- Install Motion Sensors: they will let you know if an intruder has breached a window, external door, or any other area that you have protected.
- Charge your Cell Phone: Seconds count, especially when you need to call for help to protect your loved ones.
In the worst case scenario, if you are captured by an intruder you should cooperate and tell them exactly where your valuables are. If you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood, call the police immediately.
Protecting Residents of Tennessee for Decades
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