Holiday shopping is filled with excitement, but can also include stress and distractions, which increases safety risks. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office District 6 – Queen Creek encourages residents to stay alert during holiday shopping.
“Help keep the holidays enjoyable by taking extra steps to protect yourself and your family this holiday,” MCSO Queen Creek Captain Dave Munley said in a press release. The following safety tips can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim this holiday season.
• Be alert. Look confident and walk with purpose.
• If shopping after dark, take a friend.
• Park in well-lit and well-traveled areas.
• Keep keys in your hand when walking to your car or home.
• When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people or vehicles in the area.
• If you feel uncomfortable, ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
• If someone demands your purse or wallet, surrender it immediately—it’s not worth your life. If anything is stolen, report it to the police.
• Keep your vehicle locked, including doors and the trunk.
• If you must keep packages in your car while shopping, keep them locked in the trunk. Do not leave packages in your vehicle overnight (take everything inside your home).
• Leave nothing visible in the car including a GPS system or mount.
• Move your car each time you pack in more items. Someone could be watching.
• Bring only the cash and credit cards you need. Keep cash separate from ID and credit cards.
• Be alert. Your purse or wallet may be a target in crowded shopping areas. Be wary of those creating distractions.
• Limit the use of cell phones and other devices when in public areas. Your awareness level is compromised.
• Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home so you can immediately report any loss to the police and issuing company.
• Use ATMs located in well-lit areas and only withdraw the amount of cash you need.
• Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad and do not throw your ATM receipt away.
Online shopping and identity theft
• Only do business with companies you know and only shop at secure websites.
• Do not respond to emails asking you for personal or credit card information.
• Check your credit card and bank statements regularly for fraudulent use.
• Report any fraudulent charges to your bank, the credit bureaus and the police.
• Shred important documents, including receipts that show your credit card number.
• Always lock your doors, including the door that leads from your garage into your home.
• If you will be gone for an extended period, have a friend or neighbor check on your home, including bringing in the newspaper and mail. You can also sign up for MCSO’s vacation watch online.
• Do not place gift displays in an area that is visible from a window.
• When you receive gifts, do not place large boxes on the curb for everyone to view. Break down the boxes and place them inside your recycling cart.
To report suspicious behavior, call MCSO‘s non-emergency number at 602-876-1011. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.
MCSO District 6 – Queen Creek is at 22308 S. Ellsworth Road. For additional information about MCSO or the town, visit queencreek.org.