Are you an inviting target for a crime of opportunity? In the last few weeks, we have had several unrelated reports of stolen purses and phones from victims who were shopping, or simply not paying attention to their valuables. Phones have been left on sales counters, purses in baby strollers, and wallets on top of coin machines, each have been scenarios for stolen items.
What can you do to help protect yourself? Start by shopping smart. Always be aware of your surroundings and who is near you. Don't become so engrossed in your shopping or check-out that you fail to see the person sliding up next to you or your cart. Never leave your purse or purchased items unattended in a cart, on a counter, or at a table...not even for "just a minute." Thieves will look for easy targets and persons who may be inattentive to their belongings. That open purse or wallet next to you while you are making your purchase is an invitation for theft.
Keep your purse closed. Don't toss wallets and phones back inside without closing the flap or zipper. Check your phones and put them back on your belt, in your pocket, or zipped in the purse. Setting your phone on the counter to continue a sale is an easy way to forget it.
Be mindful of your personal space. If you are "bumped" on the side or someone just happens to slide up close to you, check your wallet or purse and make sure that you have not become the target of a thief.
Watch your cards! Credit, debit, charge cards are easily "skimmed" by use of portable devices meant to quickly capture your card information. Your information can be later transferred to a magnetic strip on a different card and used for theft. The employee should be sliding your card right in front of you. If there is a need to move to a different register, go with them.
Shop smart and pay attention to who is around you! Keep an eye on your valuables and don't invite a crime of opportunity!