CLEWSISTON -- As we continue to shop for our friends, families (and ourselves) this holiday season, following a few simple safety tips may help you prevent being a victim.
If you are shopping online, don’t use a debit card. By using a credit card, you can prevent falling victim to fraud or theft. Also, beware of fraudulent websites. Many fake websites offer products when all they want is your information. When in doubt, "exit out." If you want to make sure that you are using a secure website, look for the address bar to turn green, the web address to begin with “https,” or the locked padlock symbol. And try to use different passwords when making accounts. It’s extra work, but will keep hackers from gaining access to all of your accounts, should your password be compromised.
If you make arrangements to meet someone you communicated with online and want to be safe while exchanging an item or money, you can do so at the Clewiston Police Department lobby or parking lot. Suggesting the police department may scare off a would-be scammer.
Shopping at stores
If you are shopping at stores, shop with a friend! There is safety in numbers, so grab your favorite shopping buddy. Also, park in well-lit areas and choose a parking spot that is highly visible to other patrons. Don't leave your car doors unlocked and don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Once you’re in the store, keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket. If shopping with children, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Teach kids how to ask a security guard or employee for help if they're lost.
Once you’re done shopping, save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity by reviewing your online bill periodically or by checking the app. Immediately report suspicious activity to the police department.