By Sgt. Penny Fendley
- Shop with a friend or family member as there is safety in numbers.
- Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Place packages in trunk or out of clear view.
- Have your keys ready in hand before leaving a store so you’re not searching for them in a parking lot.
- Try not to be in a store at closing time as this is when fewer people are present and predators often strike.
- Avoid isolated ATMs. Get cash during daylight hours, preferably use a drive up machine.
In the parking lot
- Park in a high-visibility location and check for lighting in case you leave after dark.
- If you feel uncomfortable, ask security to escort you to your vehicle.
- Walk briskly, confidently and directly through the parking lot.
- Watch for people who may be following you. This can occur inside and out.
- Don’t display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
- Before traveling contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and ask about the house watch program.
- If you go out for the evening , turn on lights and even a radio/TV so the house appears occupied.
- Avoid leaving boxes from purchases (especially valuable electronics) out on the curb for trash pick-up. Place the boxes in, non-clear garbage bags.
- Be wary of strangers soliciting charitable donations. Do not open your door to strangers.
Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts and it isn’t unusual for people to go door to door looking for “charitable” donations. Ask for ID and ask for specifics about how the money will be used, if you aren’t satisfied with the answers, don’t give.
Remember: we always say if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to internet purchases as well, including purchases on Craigslist and eBay.
If you are shopping online, make sure the website you are shopping on is a legitimate one. When in doubt shop elsewhere.
Many of us use our credit cards for holiday purchases. Make sure you keep close track of your purchases and check your statements frequently to make sure there are no fraudulent purchases made by someone who has stolen your credit card information.
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