cute-christmas-shopThe holidays are a joyful time of the year, but it is also a peak time for criminal lost. Choose a central location to meet if your activity. Criminals take advantage of the seasonal chaos and people’s giving nature. Even though police patrols are increased this time of year, following a few simple tips will help keep you, your family and your valuables safe this holiday season.

blue-gift-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-free-wghywj-clipartWHILE OUT SHOPPING

  • Always park where there is plenty of light be- tween your car and the store.
  • Keep your car locked and have your keys in hand before you go to your car.
  • Do not leave anything of value in sight in your car. This includes cell phones, GPS units and shopping bags full of holiday purchases.
  • Don’t leave your purse unattended in your cart, even for a few seconds.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of money. Keep money in a front pocket.
  • Only carry one or two credit cards and make sure you secure them after use.
  • Decide where to meet if a family member gets family gets separated. With so many people around, it’s not uncommon to find lost children panicked because they can’t find their parents. Teach your children how to ask for help from a security guard or store personnel.
  • Caution your children about talking to strangers. Unfortunately, sex offenders often like to stalk busy malls during holidays, and they are good at befriending little children.
  • Take a picture of your children with your smart- phone before you enter the crowded stores. If they do get lost, you will be able to help store security or the police with an idea of what they look like and what clothes they’re wearing.
  • Drive carefully in parking lots. People may back out unexpectedly or walk right in front of your car. If you have little children, hold their hands when walking through the parking lot.

blue-gift-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-royalty-free-wghywj-clipartWHILE SHOPPING ON-LINE

  • Protect your computer – Your computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.
  • Stick to trustworthy websites – Look for Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) seal and other widely-recognized “trust marks” on retailer websites.
  • Protect your personal information – Take the time to read the privacy policy of websites you visit and understand what personal information is being collected and how it will be used. If you don’t see a privacy policy posted, your information may be sold without your permission.
  • Beware of deals that sound too good to be true – offers found on less-traveled websites a credit card, because under federal law, the and in unsolicited emails sometimes advertise shopper can dispute the charge if he or she suspiciously low prices.
  • Misspellings and grammatical errors may be signs that the site might be fraudulent. Trust your instincts and be leery of unsolicited emails, as they may contain viruses or malware. Don’t be afraid to pass up “great deals” that might wind up costing you dearly instead of saving you money.

    Confirm your online purchase is secure – shoppers should always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.

  • Check your credit card statements often – Don’t be afraid to pass up “great deals” that might wait for paper statements; BBB recommends wind up costing you dearly instead of saving consumers check their credit card statements you money. for suspicious activity by checking statements online regularly or by calling their credit card Confirm your online purchase is secure – shop- companies if fraud is suspected.

Happy and safe shopping!