In a world where costs are climbing all around, consumers want to protect themselves and their belongings. Fortunately, the technology that’s readily available in 2023 can be a great asset.
Track and protect packages
One of the most tempting targets? Recently delivered packages. Dubbed "porch pirates," thieves take advantage of the increase in deliveries during the holiday season, snatching gifts from porches, mailrooms, or front doors. Delivery theft can be a devastating discovery for homeowners, representing not only a physical but financial loss.
In our 2020 Winter Safety Index, 52% of respondents with home insurance admitted to having no idea who could reimburse them should a package go missing. If the worst happens to you, there are a few options. Online retailer Amazon is currently the only delivery service to offer reimbursement. When you've used a different service, check your home insurance policy. Some providers — like Onlia — work with its customers to reimburse them for lost or stolen packages.
If you're expecting a surge in deliveries, protect your package by requiring a signature, considering installing security cameras, or have your packages delivered to alternate addresses when you're not home regularly. For online purchases, some experts recommend using a credit card with theft protection. Opt for delivery services that can provide proof of delivery — if you need to file an insurance claim, this will be essential.
Take stock of your property
Take a look around your property, and take inventory of what you've got stored. A shed may house winter tires, your barbecue may be on the deck, or your bikes may be locked up against the fence. These are all high ticket items, ripe for the picking for thieves. The first step to protect your stuff is to take an inventory. Use your smartphone to take photos of items, and pair the photos with registration or serial numbers in the Notes app on your phone. Detailed inventories can help if something goes missing, as they will inform insurance claims and police reports.
While motion sensor lights may scare someone in the act, consider linking those with motion sensor cameras. Often linking into a smartphone app, this bit of tech can alert you when someone (or something) is detected lurking around your property. For sheds, a strong padlock is good, but a Bluetooth enabled one is great; it’ll alert you when someone is tampering with the mechanism.
Secure your vehicle (and your keys)
Often, the most expensive item we own is sitting just outside our home. A whopping 10,000 cars have been stolen in 2023 in Ontario – that’s up 45% from 2022. Newer, luxury models seem to be the most targeted, with the Lexus RX Series topping the list for most stolen vehicles in Ontario. Bottom line? No car is safe, so protecting them should be a priority.
Opportunistic thieves may be looking for unlocked doors or forgotten change in the console, while high-tech criminals are boosting cars with the latest technology. Using innovation for evil, thieves will boost cars by copying the signal from the vehicle's wireless key fob. While dropping your keys on the counter may feel easy, it’s this proximity to the door that allows thieves to amplify the fob frequency and then duplicate it to a new fob. It is literally giving them a new key to your car — the alarm won't even sound.
It’s recommend to store your keys far from the front door and windows, perhaps even purchasing a signal-blocking box to store the fob in. To kick up the technology a bit, consider installing an after market alarm on your vehicle. While the thieves may gain access with a dummy fob, they won't be able to silence the secondary alarm. Using programmable GPS trackers will notify you when your car moves, especially when it shouldn't — like when you're sleeping. You can also set up additional sensors that will only unlock when a specified cellphone is within a certain proximity of the vehicle, rendering a dummy fob useless.