As we’ve pointed out in posts past, the holidays bring out a certain criminal element that leads to theft and fraud; usually playing off of people’s willingness to trust and help others. In fact, we have a program which gives GPS trackers to religious institutions to help nativity scenes from being robbed; seriously.
To underscore the depravity of holiday crime, we’re bringing you a special security news roundup shining a light on Grinches, Scrooges and Hans Grubers from around the world.
Caught on Camera – Tip Jar Robber and Christmas Decoration Thieves
‘Tis the season, as they say. An Ohio coffee shop captured surveillance footage of a man sneaking bills out of the tip jar while the barista’s back was turned. Instead of reporting it to the police, the shop owner had a more charitable response, posting the video on Facebook and launching a food drive for the down-on-his-luck burglar. “We figured anyone desperate enough to steal a few bucks from a kid working her way through college is likely pretty hungry,” the owner said. The burglar has not yet stepped forward to claim his charity.
A slightly less happy story comes out of Philadelphia, where surveillance cameras recorded a pair of robbers taking down and stealing Christmas decorations. Police are asking for help identifying the man and woman, who robbed decorations from a house twice in the same night.
Surveillance Cams Save the Day in Pennsylvania Toys for Tots Theft
As if stealing holiday gifts from normal people weren’t enough, Philadelphia surveillance cams caught a woman stealing all the toys from the Toys for Tots bin at a local store. Police were able to use the footage to determine that the woman was actually a volunteer for Toys for Tots, and was acting at the behest of the charity for needy kids; a happy holiday ending thanks to surveillance cameras.
Holidays See Spike in Midwest Armed Robberies
In Kalamazoo, Michigan thieves targeted convenience stores and gas stations in multiple armed robberies between December 5 and 7. Local police used security camera footage to identify and arrest as many of the robbers as they could. The trend of armed robberies around the holidays is common in the area, despite enjoying relatively low crime rates the rest of the year. Similarly, police in Racine, Wisconsin faced multiple convenience store robberies between Thanksgiving and December 7, leaving law enforcement on high alert. Like Kalamazoo, the number of robberies is uncommon, and statistics show that there have been fewer robberies than there were in the previous year. Still, criminal activities around the holidays sting all that much more.
Cyber Crime Soars this Season
With e-commerce spending expected to increase by 15% to $61.8 billion this holiday season, identity theft is also slated to increase from the $21 billion dollars it cost consumers last year. For a list of some of the most popular holiday scams, check out this list over at Mainstreet. With the expected rise, a Canadian government official in charge of privacy issued a warning to all holiday shoppers to be vigilant with their personal identity online this holiday season. The Alberta Privacy Commission has published a list of tips to stay safe and avoid being a cyber crime victim.
Seattle Package Thieves Caught on Tape, Still Active
Keeping with the spirit of being as horrible as possible over the holidays, a couple in Seattle has been captured on a surveillance camera multiple times sneaking into an apartment building and stealing packages. Of course, they aren’t the only example of this brand of Grinchery; there have been multiple reported cases this year of package thieves going as far as following delivery trucks around and picking up online shopping orders as they’re dropped off.
JPMorgan Warns Prepaid Cash Card Users of Cyber Attack
A July cyber attack left more than 460,000 JPMorgan Chase & Co. prepaid cash card customers at risk, according to a release from the banking giant. On December 4 they announced they had detected issues on their servers, which they discovered indicated a breach. The cards were issued to employers and government agencies to pay employees and issue tax refunds, and the cardholders compromised represent about 2% of their prepaid cash card users. The bank believes that despite the failure of its encryption and security measures, the thieves did not capture critical personal information.