Thanksgiving weekend marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, and the St. Charles Police Department is offering 10 tips for protecting yourself against shopping crimes:
- Pay attention to your valuables (bags, purses, wallets, phones, etc.) at all times and avoid distractions such as talking on your cellphone or listening to an MP3 player.
- Wear your purse diagonally across the front of your body or place your wallet in a front pocket.
- Do not carry large sums of cash.
- Beware of strangers that approach you or bump into you.
- Conceal your PIN during credit/debit card transactions.
- Throngs of shoppers can lead to frustrations, rage or even mob violence. If you find yourself in a mob scene, remain calm and carefully move to the outside of the mob. Search out protective barriers like walls, and avoid bottlenecks.
- Never park in an unlit or poorly lit parking lot.
- Never leave packages visible inside your car. Store them in the trunk instead.
- Have your keys in your hand when you approach your car. While loading your, car do not leave handbags or purses unattended.
- Check your account balances frequently to check for unauthorized purchases and report lost or stolen cards immediately.
“Shoppers really need to keep track of their valuables and be aware of who is around them at all times,” warns St. Charles Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Bill Tynan. “Turning your back briefly on a bag of purchases or a purse resting in a shopping cart is all the time a criminal needs to take those items.”
For more information, visit www.stcharlesil.gov or contact Tynan at 630-377-4435.