The final run-up to Christmas is a busy time for thieves – when new purchases and nights out can lead to a rise in robberies and pick-pocketing.
With millions being spent on gadgets, jewellery and other expensive presents, many homes are packed to the rafters with goodies; while shoppers are walking the streets with hundreds of pounds worth of items.
New research released today shows that almost half of us believe that at this time of year, we are more vulnerable to having things stolen or damaged.
According to the study by Endsleigh Insurance, almost 3.5 million of us have had a personal phone stolen, 526,000 an iPad and just under half a million an iPod.
This year millions of us are set to receive gadgets for Christmas; however the fun won't last long for some of us, with more than 300,000 saying they've had a gadget stolen within a fortnight of receiving it.
So, what can you do to keep yourself and your possessions safe over the next week?
The Real Hustle's Paul Wilson has plenty of top tips and advice on how to avoid becoming victim of loss, damage or theft...
Be aware of how easy it is to know what tech you are carrying. It's more discreet to run your earphone cables under your coat but it also makes it more difficult for thieves to "fish" your smartphone out of your pocket.
When carrying larger devices, avoid carrying cases that declare the nature of the contents.
Backpacks with laptop pockets are better than a laptop case with a shoulder strap.
Assess the cost of losing your gadget
It's not just about the money. What kind of data does it contain? Have you backed everything up on a regular basis? Other than the device itself, what would you lose if it went missing?
Perform regular syncs to make sure that you can always recover the contents of a lost device.
Data devices are lost and stolen every day. Think about the personal information contained on your smart phone, laptop or tablet.
If it does fall into the wrong hands, will they be able to access your email, your photographs or any sensitive data? A strong password will give you some peace of mind should the worst happen.
Consider how easy it is to physically access your device
Whether walking down the street, sitting in a restaurant or travelling, if your device is in a simple-to-predict and easy-to-reach place for you, it's just as easy for a thief.
Inside pockets are better than outside and be especially careful with bags that can be quietly opened when slung over your shoulder.
Be a thief
Not really, but for a few minutes look at yourself through the eyes of a crook. If you wanted to rip yourself off - how would you do it?
Could you easily take something of value? If the answer is yes, take steps to make it more trouble than it's worth.
Remember, most thieves go for the easy target.
Don't be distracted
One of the most effective ways to steal someone's property is to divert their attention. Out of sight, out of mind and out of pocket!
Place your phone on the table in a public place and you might attract professional thieves holding a map which they use to cover your phone and steal it from right under your nose.
If you hang your expensive camera over your shoulder, it might be very difficult for a thief to steal but can they take the expensive lens with a simple push and a twist?
As the Christmas season fills many of us with seasonal merriment, we often become careless. Always ensure that you place valuable gadgets out of harm's way.
Make sure your prized iPad isn't resting on your bed side table near a glass of water after a night out, and ensure your phone is stowed away in a secure pocket – making it unlikely to fall out and smash or get lost in the back of a taxi.
Always ensure that you have right insurance for all of your gadgets.
What do you think? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag
CHRISTMAS 2012: GADGET GIFTS FOR HER
CHRISTMAS 2012: GADGET GIFTS FOR HIM
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