The holiday season is upon us and that means family gatherings, celebrations with neighbors, co-workers and more.
It also means many of us will be out shopping. That means stores and malls will be busy, parking may be a challenge and to expect slower traffic. The Overland Park Police Department wants you to remain safe and take steps to ensure your safety. Here are some tips.
When shopping in a store:
- Do not purchase more than you can carry. If you plan to do all your shopping at once rather than several trips, plan ahead by taking a family member or friend with you to help you carry your packages to the car.
- If a clerk ask if you want your receipt following a purchase, say “yes.” Save all your receipts. Start a file folder to keep your receipts and to help you verify your credit card or bank statements when they come in.
- Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to “shoulder surf” to get your account information.
- Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
- If you see something, say something. This sounds simple, and it is. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package, or suspicious acting individual.
Walking to and from your vehicle:
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
- Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
- Observe your surroundings. This means looking around and paying attention.
Shopping with Small Children:
- If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.
- Select a central meeting place.
- Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
- Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with which you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
- Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.