• By Ashleigh Sloop
  • Posted Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it an increased number of people at malls and other retail venues. This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours. These factors and the distraction of shopping create a more favorable environment for thieves and other offenders.

Sheriff Schatzman reminds all Forsyth County residents to follow these safety tips to help eliminate chances of being victimized:

Shopping Safety:

  • A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time to expect your return if you plan to shop. Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.
  • Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park your vehicle 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. This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove. Store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.
  • Pay 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 for any reason. Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.
  • If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.

Credit Card Fraud:

  • Never write your PIN number on your credit card.
  • Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.
  • Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.
  • Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.
  • Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.
  • If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure through SSL (Secure Socket Layer). You can tell if the web page is secure by looking for the gold lock or key icon at the bottom corner of your browser window.
  • If you’re not comfortable submitting your information through the internet, call the seller and give them your information over the telephone. Never send credit card or personal information via email.
  • Check the company out. Only do business with companies that provide a physical address and telephone number.
  • Keep good records. Always print out a copy of any online products or services you purchase.

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