The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family, but the hectic pace can also present increased risks, especially if you are on a quest for gifts. Overcrowded stores and an increase in online shopping offer greater opportunities for thieves to target your valuables.
Legislator Vincent T. Muscarella is joining with the Nassau County Police Department to help shoppers protect themselves against thieves by offering the following safety tips for holiday shoppers:
- Park in a well-lighted space. Roll up your windows, lock your vehicle doors and lock packages and valuables in your trunk.
- Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Plan ahead by taking a friend to shop with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
- Avoid carrying or flaunting large amounts of cash.
- Save all receipts, including from your online purchases, to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in. Check your credit and bank statements regularly for fraud.
- Deter purse snatchers and pickpockets by carrying your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket. Never place your purse in a shopping cart where it can be easily snatched.
- Always be aware of your surroundings while shopping and remember to check your backseat and around your car before getting in.
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
- Do not advertise on social media that you will be away from home.
- Shop only on secure websites that you know and trust. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
- Make sure your personal computers are up-to-date on security software before surfing the Internet. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.