The West Virginia Sheriff’s Office shares safety tips for holiday shopping

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is sharing some tips to help residents ensure they have a safe and happy holiday season by avoiding theft, accidents, fraud and other pitfalls when it comes to holiday shopping.

According to the sheriff’s office, consumers should take some extra precautions when it comes to protecting their personal information when they’re holiday shopping. If you stick to online shopping this year, keep an eye out for holiday scams or signs of possible identity theft. Check customer reviews and look for complaints from the Better Business Bureau against the retailer or online store.

The sheriff’s office says you should also check if a website has a lock icon in front of the URL field and that the URL starts with “https” because the “s” means the site is more secure. MEPs also say you should avoid using a debit card for online purchases as refunds can be lower than credit cards in the event of a dispute.

MEPs encourage shoppers to keep purses close to their body or wallets in a coat pocket or front trouser pocket to avoid potential pickpockets and thieves. Another tip they say is to wait until the teller tells you to before withdrawing your money and avoid showing a lot of cash in your wallet. They also encourage shoppers to limit their Christmas shopping to just one credit card so multiple cards aren’t at risk if something happens. And of course keep your receipts!

The Sheriff’s Office also urges buyers not to put themselves in physical danger by staying away from certain situations, such as:

Another tip from the sheriff’s office: when shopping with kids, make sure you have a central place in case you get separated. MEPs are also encouraging families to teach their children how to find a security guard or staff member to ask for help if they get lost.

Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores also means traveling to get to the store, and with more people on the road, the FCSO says there may also be more aggressive drivers on the road. MEPs are reminding drivers to “drive defensively” and not add to the problem by allowing road anger to rise while driving.

Driving safety also applies in parking lots, according to the sheriff’s office. Motorists are asked to be patient when looking for a parking space and not to accelerate too quickly in order to get to the empty or soon to be empty parking space first. Aside from driving, there are other tips to keep you and your car safe in the store parking lot, such as:

Drivers should also have their keys in hand, remember where they parked, and check under and around their car before approaching.