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  Protect Yourself While Shopping This Holiday Season

Nov 26, 2012 11:20 ET

Durham Regional Police want to remind holiday shoppers and store owners to be extra vigilant during the holiday season with their shopping habits.

The rush of Christmas time increases the opportunity for criminals to take advantage of busy ATM terminals, customer check outs and crowded parking lots. Thieves have been reported to watch vehicles in parking lots, wait for you to put your gifts in the trunk and then follow you to the next store. While you are in the second store, the thieves will force open your vehicle and remove the items.

Ensure you safeguard yourself against these people by following these important safety tips.

Tips to prevent debit/credit fraud:

*Report lost or stolen cards to the card issuer and the police immediately to prevent fraudulent use of the cards.
*Keep an eye on your card when a cashier or attendant is swiping it. Thieves may swipe the card a second time on a different device to copy your card numbers.
*Never lend your card to anyone.
*Check your card and receipt after each transaction to make sure it is your card and the amount is what you agreed to.
*Check your monthly statement to ensure the charges are yours.
*Never write your PIN on your card or on anything near it. Do not keep a written PIN in your wallet, purse or automobile.
*Always cover your hand when inputting your PIN - use your other hand and your body to shield the keypad from roving eyes and/or hidden pinhole cameras.
*Never let your debit card (or credit card for that matter) out of your sight when at a gas station, store, restaurant, etc. A fraudulent card skimmer can fit into the palm of a hand, so make sure you can see what the employee is doing with your card at all times.

Tips to prevents thefts from vehicles:

*Park in well lit areas
*Keep all shopping bags in the trunk of your vehicle
*Buy big ticket items, such as electronics, last and head straight home
*If you suspect you are being followed, do not go home, head straight to a police station
*Always lock the doors
*Remove your valuables from view

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