Thieves across the country are getting more and more creative in how they rob, steal and cheat. Below are a few examples of trends we have seen recently. Take note and beware.

In all of these cases, a home security system installed and monitored by a professional could have turned these tragic situations into ones that could have been prevented.

The long-term parking scheme

Leaving your car in long-term parking can be an invitation for criminals to strike. Thieves have been known to break into a car while you are away. They used the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment to drive the car to the owner’s home and rob it.

Helpful tips: do not leave your registration and/or insurance cards in your car and lock away your remote garage door opener when leaving your car in long-term parking.

Thieves navigate a crime with victim’s GPS

Think twice before you leave your car attended at a sporting event. Thieves are searching out cars parked adjacent to the field or stadium. Thieves will take things such as garage door openers, money, and GPS systems. They will then use the GPS to navigate to the owner’s home, use the garage door opener to gain access and rob them! The thieves know the owners are at the football game, they know what time the game was scheduled to finish and how much time they have to clean out the house.

Helpful tip: if you have a GPS, don’t put your home address on it. Consider putting a nearby landmark, gas station or store instead so you can still find your way home without giving away your exact address.

Thief uses cell phone contacts to drain bank account

Please consider this story, a woman’s handbag was stolen. Her handbag contained her wallet, cell phone, credit cards and other valuables. What the thief was interested in this instance was her cell phone contact list. The thief used her contact list, sent a text to “Hubby.” Then her husband unknowingly texted their bank account PIN number to the thief. After realizing what had happened, they rushed to the bank, but the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone contact list to communicate with the unsuspecting husband and within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from the couple’s bank account.

Helpful tips: Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.; when sensitive info is being asked through texts, even if it is people you know, confirm by calling back; when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.

A new twist to a purse snatch

At a local mall, a woman went grocery-shopping and left her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached for something off of a shelf. You think you know how the story goes, but please read on! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.

Helpful tips: Always keep one eye on your belongings; consider confirming a call before leaving the house to make sure the call wasn’t from anyone suspicious.

Watch out for Sliders while you are pumping gas

A recent news story on ABC showcases a growing trend of “sliders” at the gas pump. While women are pumping gas, a car pulls up and unknown to the driver, a thief opens the door and steals her purse. And like the other stories in this series can then use the contents of the purse to gain access into a home or access other personal information. Watch the full video to learn more about this disturbing trend.

Home security systems are a known deterrent to home burglaries.

Have you considered installing a professionally-monitored home security system to protect your property and belongings while you are away?