Shop Smart this Holiday Season

It is hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner, but ‘tis the season to start practicing your shopping safety skills for this month’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Whether you plan to browse online or visit a local shopping center, prepare yourself ahead of time by familiarizing yourself with these common-sense security tips:

 SHOPPING ONLINE

  • Never use your debit card when shopping online. Your bank account could be wiped out in seconds should your number fall into the wrong hands. Instead, use a credit card to avoid this potential disaster.
  • Be on the lookout for fake websites selling fraudulent products made to look like the real deal. Before making your purchase, do your research to ensure the site and the products are legitimate. Read reviews and check the sites security status by making sure the browser’s address bar displays a green padlock icon to the left of the websites URL. You can click on the padlock icon to verify the details of the website.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi when logging into a website, checking your bank account, or entering your personal information or credit card number. Transactions on an unsecured Wi-Fi network can lead to identity theft or the interception of your credit card number.

 SHOPPING IN STORE

  • Be aware of your surroundings while entering and exiting stores, particularly during the evening. Stay off your cell phone, scan the area with your eyes, and look confident. 
  • Avoid a smash and grab. Do not leave anything in plain view in your car. Nothing. Nata. Zero. Period.
  • Do not flash your cash as this attracts unwanted attention (as do, many shopping bags).
  • Prepare a safety plan for you and those shopping with you. Determine a specific meeting place should an emergency arise. If you hear or see something suspicious, leave the premises immediately.

 For more information about this Safety and Security Tip or to request a Crime Prevention Specialist to speak to members of your community, business, or organization call Community Relations at 258-3280. To report a fraud or scam, call the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 258-3292.