With "Black Friday" upon us, 'tis the season for thieves to be looking for an easy target. Shoppers everywhere will be crowding stores and check-out counters in search of grabbing bargains and deals. But just as you may be shopping for a gift, the bad guys (and gals) may be shopping for your wallet, credit & debit cards, car keys, or your recently purchased treasures. 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.
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.
Keep an eye on your accounts. Check your balances and statements often. Watch for any unauthorized activity and report it immediately if discovered.
Don't leave valuable items in your vehicle. Do your best not to use your car as a storage compartment. Thieves will target persons who load up their vehicle and then walk away. Keep any items out of plain sight.
'Tis the season for celebrations, not for becoming the unfortunate victim of theft. Do what you can to help prevent a crime before it happens! Don't become a victim!