FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The holiday season is fast approaching, which means many Fairfield County residents will be heading to the stores and to their computers to do holiday shopping.
With busy lives becoming more chaotic during the holiday season, many people forget some basic personal safety measures they should be taking. The Connecticut State Police offer the following tips to greatly reduce the opportunity criminals have to target you, your family and your property:
- Lock your cars while shopping and while parked at home; move valuables out of sight.
- Shop with friends/family; remember safety in numbers.
- Never leave your vehicle running when you go into a store.
- Never leave children unattended in the store or alone in a vehicle; you can be charged criminally.
- Teach your children about stranger safety.
- Keep your purse close to you; carry your wallet in your front pocket.
- Don’t leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart.
- Have your keys out when approaching your vehicle.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep purchased merchandise in your trunk/out of view.
- Park in a well-lit area if shopping at night.
- Alert store security/police if you see an unattended bag.
- Alert store security/police if you notice someone acting suspiciously.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Only give cash to someone at a register; be alert for criminals posing as employees.
- Be alert for strangers/con-artists distracting you while another person takes your purse/wallet.
State police also offered tips for shopping online:
- Make sure the computer you’re using has security software/anti-virus/spyware/firewalls.
- Keep your login usernames and passwords secure.
- Only shop from secure websites; look for the padlock icon in the URL or at the bottom of the screen. Also make sure the URL starts with https://
- Only shop from reputable companies, i.e. Amazon.com, Macys.com, Bestbuy.com, etc. Look for tricks in the URL such as Amazon.net, Bestbye.com, Maceys.com
- Never send personal information via email to “verify” information; legitimate companies/banks would never ask you to do this.
- Online shopping companies do not need your social security number; asking for your SSN is a red flag.
- Save receipts/email confirmations for purchases made online.
- Check bank statements to double-check transactions and identify any suspicious activity .
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