Safety Tips – Mall & Shopping

Holiday Shopping Tips
Follow these tips for safe holiday shopping:

  • Do not leave packages in plain view inside of your vehicle-place them in the trunk or carry along some type of covering to place over your packages.
  • While shopping in the evening hours may be less crowded, there are also additional potential risks involved. Always park in areas of parking lots that have adequate lighting.
  • Consider shopping with others rather than going alone, and keep in mind safety in numbers is a deterrent.
  • Make sure purses and wallets are secure on your person and you are aware of their location at all times.
  • Keep the amount of available cash you have at a minimum or separate it into different pockets or locations on or about your person. This way all of it is not lost if your purse or wallet is misplaced or stolen.
  • Credit cards offer convenience and security, however, keep track of all cards and keep receipts to compare to your monthly statement.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and move to and from your vehicle with confidence and “purpose”. Have your keys ready before getting to your car so you do not have to search for them while standing near it.
  • Report suspicious people or activity to law enforcement. Call 337-394-2824.
  • Most importantly, reduce your own vulnerability and do what you can to minimize the possibility that you could be a victim of a crime or a loss.

Credit Card Safeguards
Credit card theft is when your credit card is actually stolen, whereas credit card fraud is an illegal transaction that is made using the information from that card.

The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to also warn online shoppers to be vigilant about making safe and secure transactions while shopping online.

Any transaction that involves the physical handing over of your credit card over to another individual can potentially be risky. A common form of credit card fraud called “skimming” can occur at restaurants or other retail establishments by unscrupulous employees who don’t need to steal a credit card to commit fraud. It only takes 10 seconds for a waiter, waitress, or retail person to take your credit card and write down your number and then go home and pay their bills online with your information.

Online Shopping
If you are planning to make a financial transaction on a retail website, first check that site’s URL address and make sure it starts with HTTPS, and not just HTTP before entering any financial or sensitive information. The ‘S’ indicates that it is a secure website. If you do not see that ‘S’ on the page asking you for your information, look instead for a phone number or some other way of making that purchase.

Always remember, criminals, are preying on your holiday spirit of giving to make a quick buck and fund their criminal enterprises.