Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
The holiday shopping season is here! Many of you are taking advantage of online deals or skipping in-store shopping all together. Check out the following safety tips for a more secure online shopping experience:
- Go directly to a website for order or account information rather than clicking on a link received via email or text message.
- Refrain from sending sensitive information via unsecure methods such as email, text or social media websites.
- When shopping online, only shop with reputable vendors. It's best to shop directly with online retailers you know and trust.
- Verify the URL of the website you intend to visit is correct and the data is encrypted prior to entering personal or financial data into the website. Websites that encrypt that data should begin with “https:” instead of “http:” and display a closed padlock near the address bar or at the bottom of the window.
- Refrain from storing credit card data in online accounts or mobile applications.
- Regularly check financial accounts for suspicious activity such as money transfers or unusual purchases.
- Check the website’s or app’s privacy policies to understand how personal data is being stored and used.
- Ensure all devices are running updated and running reputable antivirus software. Conduct scans often.
- Pick strong passwords.
- If an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Compare prices before you buy.
- Pay with credit, not debit. A credit card doesn’t give a seller direct access to the money in your bank account and most credit cards offer zero fraud liability.
While there’s more to the holiday season than gifts, it’s frustrating if thieves target your house or neighborhood. Here are some tips to help keep your packages safe:
- Schedule a delivery date and time when you will be home.
- Have your package delivered to the home of a trusted neighbor or relative that you know will be home.
- Have your package held at your local post office for pickup.
- Ask the carrier to place your package in an area out of plain view.
- Have your package delivered to your place of work.
- Request that your package has signature confirmation upon delivery.
- Consider installing a lockbox and share your code with your delivery service.
Shopping safety is as much about personal safety as it is about securing your purchases. Criminals are opportunistic and will take advantage of easy targets. By following these simple rules, you can reduce your risk of being a victim:
- Use the buddy system when shopping and stay alert! Awareness is key to staying safe. Reduce distractions and avoid using your cell phone while walking in parking lots.
- Always watch your purse and make sure its contents, especially wallets, are not visible or accessible to others. Thieves are looking for wallets to steal from purses when their owners are not paying attention.
- Limit the amount of cash, credit cards, and other valuables that you carry to minimize potential loss.
- Do not overload yourself with packages. Use will call and curbside package pick-up services.
- Do not make multiple trips to the parking lot to leave purchases in your car. Thieves often loiter in parking lots and watch as shoppers place purchases in their vehicle, then break into your car and steal your items.
- Go directly home after making large or expensive purchases, such as computers or televisions. Be alert in case you are followed.
Have your cell phone handy in case of emergency and remember: Watch your bag, Boca!
Are You Witnessing Potential Criminal Activity?
Did you know that many criminal cases have been solved and arrests made because citizens have called the Boca Raton Police Department to report suspicious persons or activity? Your phone calls do make a difference! Call 561-368-6201 or 911 if you see any of the following:
- People loitering or whom you don't recognize.
- Persons lifting up door handles or looking into vehicle windows (in parking lots, at beaches, parks, schools, malls, etc.).
- Someone attempting to hide behind trees or shrubbery.
- Strange vehicles backed up to a garage door in a residential area.
- Unknown persons walking behind, or seen emerging from, the rear of a home or closed business.
- Vehicles circling or driving slowly through the area.
If it doesn't look right, it probably isn't. Call us right away. You can meet with an officer or choose to remain anonymous.