Nearly everyone is wearing a mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Its now perceived as an encouraging sign of commitment and responsibility to contain the threat of Corona virus where, in the past, even wearing a hood was discouraged. When it comes to identifying people, a mask creates an advantage for those who intend to commit crime. Masks render the use of cameras in homes, stores, ATMs, and other retail locations almost useless when it comes to identifying people. A video of someone stealing while wearing a mask may be able to help determine a person’s height and weight, but facial characteristics can be completely eliminated. Even eye witnesses would not be able to identify a suspected criminal especially with other coverings such as hats and sunglasses. The combination of a hat, mask, and sunglasses along with baggy clothes can make a perfect disguise for perpetrators to commit crimes without leaving any visual cues to accurately identify an individual.

Managing Theft in a Masked World

New masked crimes have perpetrators undeterred by cameras as they commit criminal acts in broad daylight without any suspicion of malicious activity. There have been several recent videos of people stealing goods from stores who simply walk up to self-service payment counters neglecting to make any payment and walking away with a product in their possession. The problem could also persist in fraudulent ATM withdrawals or use of credit cards at other automated transaction sites like gas stations and even McDonald’s.

There may not be any more important time than now to make sure your personal and private information, credit cards, passports, licenses, and any other means of identification are kept secure. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Stay at Home: If you eliminate the opportunity for yourself to leave your purse or wallet out in the open where they could get stolen or lost, you’ve solved the problem already. Since COVID-19 is still a looming threat, staying home is not only good for your health, but can also remove the chances of you getting your identification cards or credit cards stolen while you are out and about.
  2. Always Keep Your Belongings Close To You: If staying in is not an option, make sure to keep your belongings close by and hold on to them securely. Purse snatchers and pick-pockets may become more daring with confidence that the mask covering will not leave enough of a trail to find them.
  3. Social Distancing: Social distancing helps protect you from Corona virus transmission, and it can also make sure that you are avoiding crowds where your money and information can be compromised. A crowded place can leave a thief with many options for escaping into a sea of people before the victim even realizes their wallet is stolen out of their pocket.
  4. Monitor Your Financial Accounts: Keep a close eye on your transactions on your bank accounts, trading accounts, credit cards, and everything else you could possibly check on. Regularly checking accounts can help you make sure your information has not been compromised. If you use any identity theft protection programs, take all alerts seriously until you are confident that any threats and risks have been removed.