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Holiday Shopping Safety

  1. Spread your cash around, some in your purse, some in your pockets, some in your shoe, etc so if you do get robbed or your purse gets snatched, they don't get everything.
  2. Check your credit card when you get it back from the clerk to make sure it's really yours and watch to make sure they don't run it through the machine more than once.
  3. Tell someone (even if it's a message on a voicemail) where you're going shopping and what time you expect to be done. That way someone will know where police should start looking if you don't return.
  4. When you drive home from the mall, atm or grocery store, check your rear-view mirror frequently to make sure you're not being followed. If you are, go to a well-lit, well-populated place (convenience store or grocery store).
  5. Don't carry your social security card in your purse or wallet.
  6. Make a copy of everything in your wallet, front and back and keep it in a safe place at home. That way if it's stolen, you know immediately which cards you had with you and which numbers you need to call to notify them.
  7. Don't be distracted by someone in a store asking you a seemingly innocent question. While you answer, their partner will reach into your purse and take your wallet.
  8. Don't open your door to anyone you don't know. Thieves often pose as couriers delivering flowers or gifts or ask for donations. Do let them know someone is home. You can talk through the door and tell them to leave the package and never give money to anyone on your doorstep, no matter how good their charity sounds.
  9. When you leave to go shopping or visit relatives, leave a radio on. You want your house to appear lived in when you're gone. To that end, have a trusted neighbor put a bag of trash on your curb if you are going to be away during a trash day. And as always, have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers while you're gone.
  10. The holidays are a great time to take a home inventory. Take pictures of your belongings. Write down serial numbers or put your name or driver's license number on your items in permanent marker. Keep all that in a safe place for both police and insurance companies.
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