Published: Dec 22, 2010 1:48 AM EST
Updated: Dec 21, 2010 10:47 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla--With Christmas four days away, authorities are warning Southwest Florida residents to protect their homes.

Officers say people can become easy targets by leaving empty electronic boxes outside their homes.

"Boxes give away what you've been doing with your money," said Sgt. Ken Leach of the Fort Myers Police Department. "Cut those boxes into smaller pieces, and you don't show the outside advertisement."

Sgt. Leach tells WINK News people need to be careful about posting travel plans on social media sites as well.

"You're opening up a line of communication to sometimes the bad guy, and you're maybe tempting them to go over and help themselves with what belongs to you," said Leach.

If you're leaving town, police say you should set timers on your lights.

"They come on during various times, and it gives the appearance you are home," said Leach.