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Holiday Peace of Mind

While many of us take time off during the holidays to be with loved ones, it’s worth noting that thieves remain hard at work. That thought is relevant as we do our holiday shopping. The key to keeping your holiday season happy is to stay vigilant.

To help avoid being targeted, there are a few precautions you can take. First, be aware of your surroundings. If your shopping plans extend from daylight into dusk, try to park your car close to store entrances and under bright lighting. It’s also smart to shop with a friend (think “safety in numbers”) or ask if mall security can walk you to your car. Avoid tempting thieves–keep purchases out of sight or locked in your trunk and set your car alarm.

You should also take steps to protect your information and identity. You certainly recall recent headlines about massive credit and debit card data breaches. The U.S. Department of Justice reports an increase of approximately 50 percent in the percentage of households that experienced credit card fraud between 2005 and 2010.

Payment card and identity theft can occur in stores or online. Checking your bank or credit card statements for suspicious transactions may not be enough. By the time your statement arrives, the thief is likely long gone.

You can take preventive measures by being careful about where you use your bank or credit card information, shredding personal documents, and enrolling in an identity-theft protection or credit monitoring service. In fact, many AAA members have already signed up for free daily credit monitoring, a complimentary service that comes with your AAA membership. You can learn more at or at your local branch.

If you’re still looking for that special gift, there is no better time to give a AAA membership. Beyond the free daily credit monitoring, it also provides year-round peace of mind on the road, plus discounts on retail, travel, dining, and more.

Precautions cannot guarantee you won’t be affected, but they can go a long way toward thwarting thieves. I hope these reminders help keep the season peaceful for you and your loved ones. Happy holidays!

Jim McGrath

November/December 2014 Issue

Jim McGrath

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