How to keep your Cyber Monday purchases safe from thieves

(Source: WOIO)
(Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cyber Monday is bigger than ever before.

Americans are expected to drop $6.6 billion online this year.

The big bargains are good news for shoppers and retailers, but they may be attractive to another group: burglars.

According to the FBI, home burglaries spike during the holiday season.

There are steps shoppers can take to protect themselves, which includes documenting each new purchase.

"Most all your electronics -- TVs , gaming systems -- all have a model serial number on it. For instance, this one will give you all your information, and if you take a quick picture of it, save it, then take a picture of the front, it's good for insurance purposes," said Mike McKeon of Best Pawn in Euclid.

It's also good in case the item gets stolen.

The police can use the serial number to track down your TV, computer, or gaming console.

While stolen merchandise is unloaded in a lot of different places, sometimes it ends up at pawn shops, where McKeon keeps a lookout for anything suspicious.

"Everything gets logged into our computer system, and what we do is, we have to put in the database and report every week or daily to our local police department of all the information and people who bring stuff into our store," he said.

If you don't have the photos of your item or a serial number, it's much harder for the police to track it down.

That's especially true during the holiday season, when the markets are flooded with new electronics.

However, McKeon says, if they do get a hit on a stolen serial number, there's a good chance they can find the person responsible for stealing it.

"We have all these cameras, so everything is documented, through a computer system, we have video cameras of everything, so we get the picture of the person in here, and then you've got all the hard evidence, which would be the item," he said.

Other tips for keeping your holiday purchases safe?

Keep boxes where would-be criminals can't see them. Route your mail if you'll be away from home for several days, and make sure to keep social media postings to a minimum if you're far away. That will also make it less likely for a robber to see your home as a desirable place to attempt a break in.

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