Keeping your valuables safe during the holiday season

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SHERMAN, TX -- With the holiday season in full swing, it's important to be careful while you're out and about shopping. But it's just as important to use caution when you make purchases online in your own home.

As you're out looking for the best deals, so are criminals.
Every holiday season police say they see a spike in thefts. It's not just burglaries. Thieves are stealing credit card numbers and bank account information.

Authorities say there are simple things you can do to avoid becoming a victim. Shoppers should think twice before whipping out that debit card for purchases.

"What they did was they took it and they went from place to place to place, and most of the places they went was to eat," McClure said.

Cheryl McClure's account information was stolen after she used her debit card to make a purchase at a store.

"It was around the end of November right towards Christmas time where that was all of our Christmas money," she said.

McClure says after a few months she was refunded, but says it was a huge hassle that she now works hard to avoid.

"Usually I'll go to the bank and use the debit card and take the money out and then come shopping. I don't use it in the store around Christmas time and things like that because it can be easy for them to pick it up," McClure said.

The Better Business Bureau recommends using a credit card when buying online. Credit cards offer more protection if someone gets a hold of them. If someone gets access to your debit card, they can access to your entire bank account.

If you're planning to travel, void using your debit card at gas stations and hotels. The BBB says hotels are the most common place thieves steal card numbers.

It's also important to keep yourself and your belongings safe while holiday shopping. Police say they see car burglaries skyrocket this time of year.

"There's more volume in the stores, more traffic there, more cars parked outside. And the criminal mind thinks that's more targets for me," Lt. Eppler said.

Lieutenant Mike Eppler says a few easy tips can keep you from becoming a victim. Don't shop alone. Always park your car in a well lit area, and never leave any valuables inside your vehicle.

"It's quite unbelievable at times the number of vehicles that are left not only unlocked but also with the keys in them," Lt. Eppler said.

Lietenant Eppler says car burglars are going to go for convenience and if they see your car is locked, they'll move to the next one.

Police say if you notice someone suspicious in a parking lot never approach them. Always go back inside the store and call 911.

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