The holiday season is virtually upon us… Shopping malls are decorated to set the scene for the festivities, and your mom has already confirmed that she’ll be making the roast.
Shopping sprees, long drives, and somewhat lazy afternoons lie ahead, with some great memory-making in between. But now is definitely not the time to start cutting corners, especially when it comes to keeping the silly at bay.
Keeping in mind that criminals love this time of year just as much as we do, it’s no secret that the festive season opens us up to greater risk. Whether you’re running out of the house for a quick errand, or reversing out of your driveway for the long road to the coast, always remain extra vigilant.
On the web
Don’t tell all: No online shop needs your ID number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to nip your hard-earned moola.
Be careful, little mouse, where you click: Before you take the online route to book your flights or concert tickets, or to buy that last-minute gift for your mother-in-law that you ‘accidentally’ forgot, make sure that your anti-virus is up to date. Some links could contain scams or viruses. And before you pull up your virtual cart, be sure to check that the website allows you to contact the company with ease. If not… Close the tab! Who are you going to contact if you need to return your parcel, or worse, what if it never shows up? No contact details = shady!
“South Africa has the third highest number of cybercrime victims in the world, so don’t assume you won’t become part of the stats… be cybersure instead,” says Wynand van Vuuren, spokesperson for King Price.
At your abode
Lock down: Do a ‘test run’ to check that your home security works. In fact, beefing up your security won’t hurt. Then run through the home for its annual lock down… Unplug all your appliances and gadgets, close all the windows, make sure your electricity meter is loaded to keep your freezer frozen while you’re away, and don’t forget to turn off the geyser… You know why.
Light up: Give your home a ‘lived in’ look while you’re away by investing in timers that turn on your home lights for a few hours every evening. Alternatively, ask a friend or family member to pop by for a quick check from time to time.
On the wide open road
Pedal to the metal: A car that’s not roadworthy isn’t safe, and isn’t covered by your insurance… So you run the risk of physical or financial loss if you take your ‘skedonk’ on the open road. Check your tyres, lights, indicators, oil, wiper blades, brakes, mirrors, seat belts, and licence disk before you hit the road… And replace them if they’re worn out. This goes for caravans and trailers too.
Designate a driver: If you’re driving long distances, make sure to stop for a good stretch at least every 2 hours, or rotate drivers to ensure that the 1 behind the wheel is always fresh and focused. And that goes for a night out too. Designate a sober driver before you crack that first cold 1, or catch a cab home. Members of King Price’s royal family can use the king’s cab personal chauffeur service… Just remember to pre-book.
Control your social status: Although you might be tempted to broadcast to the world how well-travelled you are, and what bucket-list item you’ve just ticked-off, resist the urge to broadcast to the whole world that you’re away, or won’t be home, for the next couple of weeks.
Don’t blow it: We know the urge to splurge is very real at this time of year, but be assured, the year will end and you’ll be stuck with debt. So, make sure you save some cents to get you through Janu-worry.
“Don’t let your 2018 plans take a back seat due to unwanted drama at the turn of the year,” says van Vuuren. “1 window left unclosed, a burst geyser, worn tyres or cybercrime could spell the difference between holiday disaster and the best festive season ever!”