Keeping home, purchases safe in holiday season
Holiday decorations and merchandise are already popping up at stores, so now's the time to plan for a safe holiday season. Keep these simple tips in mind to protect yourself, your purchases and your home.
When retail shopping:
• Don't carry large amounts of cash. Carry just one debit or credit card, and avoid leaving it out where others can read it.
• Shop with friends if possible.
• Don't overburden yourself with packages.
• Put purchases in the trunk of your car, out of sight.
• If you're continuing to shop, move your vehicle to another location in the parking lot.
• Observe and report suspicious behavior to police or store security.
• Lock your car doors as soon as you get in the car.
• Shop secure sites. Look for the "https" in the browser address or for the padlock symbol on the Web page.
• Use a credit card instead of debit.
• Shop reliable, known sites.
• Remember, safety doesn't stop at the point of purchase. If you are not home to accept deliveries, have a neighbor bring packages in or arrange for delivery to a back door or less visible spot.
• Don't leave wrapped gifts visible through windows if you go away.
• Break down boxes and packaging from large purchases before discarding. A big box from your new plasma TV or computer system sitting at the curb is an invitation to burglars.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Tim Caddell , Pinellas Park government relations administrator