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District Attorney - News

Posted on: December 3, 2019

Tips for a Safe Holiday Shopping Season

Cary Johnson Shares Helpful Tips

During this busy holiday season, malls and retail stores are crowded with shoppers.  District Attorney Pete Weir is warning consumers to use care when they are shopping in order to ensure a safe and happy holiday season.

The retail hustle and bustle of the holiday season provides opportunity for identity thieves and other crooks.  While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season, DA Weir warns, “Plan your shopping trips. Don’t overdo. Weary shoppers may let their guard down by the time they get to the cashier to pay for their purchases. Do not become distracted.  Savvy ID thieves are waiting for just that moment to capture your credit card information on their cell phone, grab your purse or pick your pocket and destroy your holiday cheer.”

Here’s a simple list of suggestions that can help you stay safe this holiday season:          

  • Plan your outing and go with a friend; there is safety in numbers;
  • Park near an entrance door, under lights if it is the evening. Note where your car is parked so that you can walk directly back to your car, without wandering, when you return;
  • Don’t get overloaded with too many packages. If you are focused on your packages, you are more vulnerable to purse or wallet theft.  When you have a few packages it’s a good idea to take them back to your car, put them in the trunk, and then drive to another part of the mall to continue shopping;
  • Be particularly aware in the busier areas of a store or mall. Crowded aisles, food courts and restrooms create a great opportunity and a quick getaway plan for thieves:
    • Don’t leave your packages or purses unattended in the food court; 
    • Don’t set packages or purses on the floor when in a bathroom stall. Crooks can easily reach under, grab and run;
    • Don’t let someone engage you in a busy aisle – they may be up to no good;
  • Travel light in terms of your personal and financial information. Bring your identification, one credit/debit card, and no more than two checks.  Carry those in a neck wallet, bi-fold wallet in a front pocket, or a fanny pack worn in the front;        
  • Never let your credit card out of your sight. Today’s tech-savvy thieves can easily use a palm skimmer to capture credit card information without stealing the actual card. Check your credit card/bank account statements carefully at the end of the month and report fraudulent charges to your bank or credit card company immediately.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office offers free Power Against Fraud presentations for groups of all sizes. These programs are designed to protect consumers from becoming victims of identity theft or fraud.  For more information call the Fraud Hotline 303-271-6980.  

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