Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CCSO Offers Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is busy planning ways to keep our community safe this holiday shopping season.

Deputies will be patrolling retail parking lots when shoppers hit the stores for Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, and the day after, Nov. 28.

Throughout the holiday season, deputies will patrol on foot, in cars and on horseback. They’ll also use the agency’s Skywatch Sentinel to help keep a close eye on shopping center parking lots.

Deputies have been out reminding store managers to adjust parking lot lighting if they’re planning to offer extended hours of nighttime shopping.

CCSO also reminds the community to follow these holiday shopping tips:

* Shop during daylight hours when possible. If shopping at night, take a friend or family member and park in a well-lit area.

*Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

* Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. They are prime targets in crowded areas. Keep cash in your front pocket.

* Avoid carrying large amounts of money.

* Be alert to your surroundings.

* Locate your keys and have them in your hand before you arrive at your car.

* Don’t leave new merchandise, wallets and purses in unattended vehicles.

CCSO also wants you to stay safe while shopping in cyberspace this holiday season. Thanks to the World Wide Web, the bulk of your shopping can be done online. You can even have your orders gift-wrapped. With the added convenience of shopping online, you need to know how to protect your bank account and identity.

Here are some tips to help keep your personal information safe:

* Use companies you know.

* When making purchases online, make sure the Web site you are using is secured with “https://www...” in the URL and make certain the padlock symbol is on the bottom of your browser.

* Read the company’s privacy statement carefully. Will they sell your personal information to other companies?

* Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t.

* Limit the amount of personal information you give out and print all online receipts.

* Consider obtaining a credit card that you use only when shopping online to easily keep track of all your purchases.

* If possible, call in your order.

* Notify the issuer if your credit card is lost or stolen.