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NPPD Crime Prevention Tip:

Shopping during the Holidays


The holidays are among the busiest days for merchants and shoppers alike. In your haste to fill wish lists and take advantage of clearance sales, you should take several precautions to avoid becoming the victim of an identity theft. First consider all of your personal numeric identifiers private precious data. In order to guard against fraud some merchants still request social security or driver’s license numbers. Advise them you prefer not to, most merchants understand. Still others will ask for a phone number, that can lead to unwanted phone solicitations, or someone determining your address using a reverse directory data base.

Don’t let your credit card leave your sight, devices are now sold on the internet that are smaller then a cell phone. They can scan a credit card and record of all the data stored on the magnetic strip and download it into a computer. Your account number could then be used by criminals. Keep your credit receipts safe and destroy them after proofing your statements. Make it a habit not to keep the receipt in the bag where it could easily fall out.

Consider that anybody seeing one of your checks, could wreck havoc with just the account number, your name, and the name of the bank. There is no end to the deviations the criminal element will consider trying. If you have an ATM or debit card never write the PIN number on the card. Believe it or not, the law enforcement community consistently sees people that become victim after losing their cards with the PIN written on it.

Check your credit card and bank statements carefully, an honest mistake might have been made erroneously charging a purchase to your account. If that occurs most credit cards have the procedure for disputing a charge written on the reverse of the statement. Follow the guidelines in a timely manner and most matters can be resolved equitably.

Finally, one can never underestimate common sense personal security while shopping. If you are using cash, be careful not to display the amount you are carrying. Remember that no amount of cash is ever worth your life, if subjected to a robbery, consider the cash expendable.

While out and about, always be aware of where you park, which pocket your keys are in, and your cell phone location. Your cell phone could become your life link in any kind of emergency.