Here are some tips to stay safe during the holiday shopping hustle and bustle:
- Always walk to and from your vehicle with another person.
- If you are shopping alone, consider walking near other shoppers in the parking lot.
- If you are carrying several bundles, ask a security officer to accompany you to your car.
- Inside malls, avoid darkened hallways and other backroom areas, especially near closing time.
- Avoid using bathrooms that are tucked away in a back area of a mall or department store and always accompany your child to the bathroom.
To confuse would-be thieves:
- Carry wallets in the front pocket of pants.
- Hold purses close to the body, with the opening facing toward you.
- Avoid using revolving doors; a thief with good timing can grab a purse or package and make a quick getaway in the time it takes you to emerge from the door.
- Consolidate purchases into one or two large shopping bags.
- Never leave your purchases or purse unattended, even for a few minutes.
Here are tips to help you stay safe while using the ATM:
- Memorize your PIN code and keep it to yourself; if others are nearby waiting to use the ATM, do not let them see which buttons you press.
- Choose a bank with an ATM located in a highly visible, well-lighted area.
- If you must withdraw money from an ATM after dark, have someone accompany you. Do not make large cash withdrawals.
- If you see anyone loitering near the machine that looks or acts suspicious, walk away.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card in your hand and resisting the temptation to count the money after it has been dispensed.
- While using an ATM, look around from time to time and be aware of what is going on around you. If anything suspicious happens, immediately cancel your transaction and leave.
Here are safety tips for your home:
- Do not announce your new high-dollar purchases after the holidays. Break down the boxes of TVs, stereos, computers, etc. and turn them inside out before putting them in the trash.
- If you are traveling for the holidays, make your home look "lived in." Have a friend or neighbor collect your mail and newspapers or have your service suspended while you are away.
- Use timers to turn lights off and on.
- Have a neighbor keep your property maintained.
- Leave shades and blinds in their normal positions.