News Flash

District Attorney - News

Posted on: December 13, 2018


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.”

Shoppers are often rushed and distracted. It is not unusual to lay checks, credit cards, and drivers’ licenses on cashiers’ counters amidst a bevy of onlookers. Most cell phones are also cameras and make it easy for a crook to take a quick picture of your credit card number.

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 entry 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 and don’t set packages or purses on the floor when in a bathroom stall. Crooks can easily reach under, grab and run;
  • Travel light in terms of your personal and financial information. Bring a little cash with you and keep it in a front pocket. Bring only one credit card. Avoid using checks as it is easy to become distracted while writing a check and drop your guard, leaving packages or purse vulnerable long enough for a crook to make you their next victim. Carry credit cards and ID in a neck wallet, bi-fold wallet in a front pocket, or a fanny pack worn in the front;
  • Don’t let your credit card out of your sight. Today’s tech-savvy thieves often 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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