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Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Remember to Shop Safe and Shop Smart

This Holiday Season

The holidays are filled with special moments shared with family, friends and those we love. Of course, the season is also a time for plenty of shopping. Holiday shopping can be enjoyable, but it can also come with a bit of stress considering larger crowds than usual. As a result, people can often lose sight of important smart, safe shopping tips that should be followed during the hustle and bustle of the season.

According to information provided by local police departments, there are several steps you can take to make this holiday, or any, shopping experience safer.

When Shopping With A Child

·         Always know where the child is

·         Have a plan in place – designate a place to meet – if you become separated from the child

·         If you feel you may be distracted when shopping, the best plan is to make alternate arrangements with someone to care for your child at home. This will eliminate a lot of potential anxiety for both you and your child.

When possible, avoid shopping alone

The general rule is that there is safety in numbers. Not shopping by yourself makes you less likely to be a target of theft. If you do shop by yourself, make sure you are aware of your surroundings and try to avoid carrying too many bags at one time or other distractions that can prevent you from being as safe as possible.

Park your vehicle in well-lit areas or close to mall/store entrances

We’re all in a hurry and parking lots can be a source of great frustration, particularly during the holiday shopping season. However, making sure your vehicle is parked in a safe place will give you greater peace of mind when your shopping is finished. So be patient and park wisely.

Do not leave anything of value in plain sight

Would-be thieves are looking for the easiest possible “target” and leaving a valuable item in plain sight makes their task easier to accomplish without drawing attention to themselves.

Place items you purchase in your car trunk if possible

Placing items in your car’s trunk keeps your purchases out of sight. Even if the items are in bags, if you place them inside your vehicle instead of your trunk, it will be obvious to anyone looking in your vehicle’s windows that there might be something of value inside those bags.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash

Carrying large amounts of cash with you while shopping can attract unwanted attention.

Stay alert to your surroundings and people around you

It’s important to avoid distractions, like constantly being on your phone or other devices.

Stay alert when using an ATM

Be aware of any people nearby and also check the ATM for a card skimming device.

If you carry a wallet, place it in your front pocket

Moving your wallet from your back pocket to your front pocket makes it harder for pickpockets.

If you carry a purse, avoid carrying it behind you

Ideally, try to keep your purse positioned in front of you, if possible.

Be aware of people approaching you for any reason

Unfortunately, con-artists do not take time off during the holidays, so just like any other time of the year, be mindful of people approaching you.

Practice ELFS!

When getting into your vehicle, follow the “ELFS” system: Enter vehicle, Lock doors, Fasten Seatbelts.

Do not leave your vehicle running while unattended

Yes, this includes the times you’re tempted to do so just to “warm it up”.

NOTE: If you are the victim of a crime, the best idea is to give the person(s) the property they desire and then immediately notify the police.