Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

12.05.06. As many of us take to the stores this holiday season, criminals are also doing their own shopping.

When you're shopping these next few weeks, a lot of the time it may be dark. But it's not just in the dark when criminals lurk and it's not just your typical muggings and break-ins. So some helpful hints to keeping your spirits up and your family safe.

It's a time of giving, but be careful who you're giving too. You might be giving your money and presents to a thief against your will. Have your keys ready, the more time you take fiddling through your purse, the more time a thief has to attack.

Don't leave your purse in the basket while you unload your purchases.

Sgt. Bruce Dawsey with the Sherman Police Department says, “It's just that easy to take your wallet.

With the approval of a shopper, we showed her how easy it was to take her wallet, her purse never moved.

Reporter: “So he took your wallet twice, did you ever notice?"
Shopper: “I didn't. Because I had a lot of stuff to load and I was just doing that. I was loading it into the car and getting it straight so it would fit. No I never noticed."

Also don't take every credit card you have. If you are going to a particular store, just take that credit card and maybe one other one..

Sgt. Bruce Dawsey, Sherman PD says, “That's just in case that your wallet gets stolen or you lose it. If you lose that the thief hit the lotto, you can take all your credit cards and go to McKinney, Dallas, or stay in Sherman. By the time it takes you to report it or cancel your cards, they've run up thousands of dollars."

Don't leave your purse in your car. We found one customer that did, the even scarier part? We could see her checkbook, routing number and all.

I guess I shouldn't have left it in there, but now I know of course I wasn't thinking. I was in a hurry but of course you shouldn't leave it in your car like that, especially around the holidays. I’m kind of embarrassed it's even in there like that. Now that I think about it."

Lastly, don't be a victim just because you're scared to ask for help. If at any point you feel uncomfortable, walk back into the store or mall and ask for a security guard to walk you out.

One other tip this holiday season, after the presents have been opened, make sure you tear down the big ticketed item boxes before putting them outside for everyone to see. You don't want to tell a thief your brand new television or computer is right inside.