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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for criminals to steal your stuff.

Roseville, Calif.- The holidays are here and you can never be too careful while shopping. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially during the holiday shopping season.

Whether you are shopping in a store or online, protecting your identity and newly purchased items is important. Here are some tips to keep safe and give you a sense of peace and security.

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“Taking extra precautions during these days can help reduce the risk of being targeted.”

When shopping in a store:

  • Pay with a credit card instead of cash or a debit card. Credit cards have added fraud protection and can be easily cancelled or suspended if lost or stolen.
  • Never leave your purse unattended as you walk about the store.
  • Assume you are being watched so secure any bags or packages in your trunk before arriving at your destination. If you need to stow packages, re-park in a different spot.
  • Keep your wallet in a front trouser pocket, or keep your purse close to your body.
  • Shop ’til you drop during daylight hours instead of dark evening hours, if possible.

When shopping online:

  • Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is a scam.
  • Make sure the website is secure if you enter any personal information. Look for “https://” at the beginning of the address.
  • Check for anti-virus updates first.
  • Only visit sites where you typed in the web address (avoid clicking links in your email).

Regardless of where you choose to shop, keep a paper trail and always check your bank or credit card statements for any unauthorized charges. Report any discrepancies immediately to the financial institution. If you discover that you are the victim of identity theft, make a report to the police department and the FTC website at https://www.identitytheft.gov/.

Follow these tips for a more safe, secure, and stress-reduced holiday shopping season.

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