**** HRP Media Release
Holiday shopping tips
Holiday shopping season is in full swing. Whether you’re heading out to the stores or shopping online, Halifax Regional Police has a few simple tips to grinch-proof your holiday purchases.
- Always lock your vehicle, and park in well-lit, busy areas.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Would-be thieves will look for shoppers storing valuables in their vehicles. If you’re going to drop off your purchases and return to the stores, lock your packages in the trunk and move your vehicle to another location in the parking lot.
- Don’t leave high-end purchases in your vehicle. Thieves will watch for shoppers exiting a store, especially if they’re carrying a high-end item. Shop strategically; wait until the end of your shopping trip to make high-end purchases, or make a special trip to take high-end items home and then return to continue shopping.
- Protect your PIN when using bank and debit machines. Cover the keypad to prevent someone from observing your key strokes or from recording your PIN. It’s a good idea to change your PIN frequently.
- After a day of shopping, remove all parcels and valuables from your vehicle when you return home; even an empty shopping bag can create the appearance that there is something worth stealing in your car.
- Shop from your personal device at home on a trusted network.
- Use different user ID and passwords for different accounts and update your passwords frequently.
- Verify secure connections and make sure you are on a secure website. Look for the padlock icon in the address bar and check for the valid certificate by clicking on the padlock icon.
- Don’t send confidential personal or financial information by email or text. Unlike secure order forms on websites, email and text messages are not private.
- Shop smart. If an online deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, so don’t make the purchase.
- Watch out for email scams. Don’t click on links in an email message even if you know who sent it and even if the deal seems great.
- Never use e-transfers to pay for items. Credit cards usually offer the best liability protection.
- Stay organized. After making a purchase, keep the receipt, confirmation number and shipping tracking numbers in a safe, accessible place.
- Make sure you have read and understand the online site’s policies, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve shopped on the site. It’s always a good idea to check out the site’s review.
In addition to all these precautions, it’s important to monitor your bank account and credit card statements closely, and immediately report any discrepancies to your bank or credit card company.