With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, it’s again time to refer consumers to the National Crime Prevention Council’s “Safe Shopping” web publication, available at www.ncpc.org.
The council urges consumers to be extra careful this time of year when shopping in stores that are more crowded than usual with busy shoppers. Items can be easily lost or stolen in crowded places and when shopping is hectic.
Keep track of packages and buy only what you can reasonably carry. If you need help, ask store employees for assistance in carrying purchases to cars.
NCPC asks those who see unattended packages in busy places to report them to security or staff.
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of double checking that you have not left credit cards or checkbooks behind at purchase sites. Also, cross out credit card numbers, if they appear on a purchase receipt.
Of course, shopping with children takes extra care. Children should know their parents’ cell phone numbers, or carry cards with that information (if children are too young to remember).
The agency recommends consumers “make a plan with children” in case separation occurs. The plan should include a pre-arranged meeting place. NCPC also urges consumers to discuss with their children who the children can safely talk to, if separated, and “the dangers of strangers.”