Holiday Safety Tips From The Boise Police Department

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Criminals are also “shopping” during the holidays, so stay alert when rushing from store to store.  Boise Police urge shoppers to follow these safety tips, regardless of where you shop, to keep your shopping trip a safe one:

  • Park in well-lit areas close to your destination.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and the things you’re carrying.  Don’t overload yourself with packages or become distracted by your cell phone.
  • If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.  Select a central meeting place and teach them to ask store personnel or security for help if they need it.
  • Pick restrooms in well-lit and well-trafficked areas. Always accompany children to the restroom.
  • Always know where the closest exit is located in case of fire or another emergency.
  • Carry you purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front pocket.
  • Carry only the cash or credit cards you will need on a particular day.  Don’t display large amounts of cash.
  • Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook.  An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.  Check the back seat before getting in.
  • Do not leave packages visible in your car windows.  Lock them in the trunk or take them directly home.

Package And Mail Thefts

We all order things that need to be delivered and receive packages at our homes.  Unfortunately our mail and packages can be attractive to an opportunistic thief.  Crime Prevention Specialists offer the following tips to prevent your packages from being stolen.

  • Track your packages and shipments.  This way you know when your package will be delivered.
  • Leave specific instructions for delivery when you order the product.  You can also do this thought the shippers on-line tracking services.  Do not leave a note on your door with instructions, this indicates you are not at home.
  • If you cannot be home for delivery, ask a neighbor to watch for the package and secure it for you.
  • Consider having all of your shipments require a signature for delivery.  This way the delivery driver will not leave packages on your door step.
  • Have your package delivered to your work or a relative or friend who will be at home.

Online Shopping Safety

Convenience, good deals and a variety of products are all benefits of shopping on-line.  But before you start making purchases, be cybersmart and make your online sales experience a safe one.

  • Shop with companies you know:  If you areusing a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.  Read return and other polices so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited/phishing emails: Links in emails, posts and texts are often the ways cybercriminals try to steal your information or infect your devices.  When in doubt, delete.
  • Public Wi-Fi:   Remember, public Wi-Fi isn’t secure.  Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking.
  • Keep personal information private: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Use safe payment options: Credit cards are generally the safest option.  Your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.
  • Protect your money: Make sure to use security enabled websites. Look for web addresses with “https” or the lock icon in the address line, indicating extra measures to help secure your information.
  • Different account, different passwords: Having separate passwords for every account helps to keep your accounts safe.  Use strong passwords with a combination of numbers, letters upper and lower case, and other characters.  Avoid using a birthday or portions of your Social Security number.
  • Secure your computer:  Make sure you have anti-virus software and use your computer’s firewalls to prevent viruses and intrusions.
  • Save all transaction information:  Including e-mails and records of any phone conversations.