Sheriff shares holiday shopping safety tips
“This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and extended store hours,” he said. “These factors and the usual distraction of shopping creates a more favorable environment for petty thieves and other offenders.”
The sheriff reminds residents:
• Always shop with a friend or relative.
• Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return. Make sure they know what you’re wearing and the type of vehicle you are driving.
• Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park in a well-lit area.
• Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet.
• Store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.
• Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages.
• When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Be aware of strangers approaching you.
• If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.
• Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.
• Carefully examine a gift card before you buy it. If the card looks like it has been tampered with in any way, put it back.
• Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when buying a gift card. No reputable company will ask for this information.
• Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you. This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged with it.
• Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores. Only buy gift cards at the sales terminal from the cashier.