With Christmas just around the corner, the last-minute shopping frenzy is in full swing. During this festive and busy time, it’s important to remember personal safety while you shop for your loved ones. To help you navigate the holiday rush, Chief Deputy Scott Mills has shared some valuable advice for a safe shopping experience.
1. Double-check before clicking “Purchase.”
Nowadays, most holiday shopping can be done in the comfort of your own home through online shopping, but Mills asks residents to be mindful of red flags when making purchases from unfamiliar websites.
“There are usually three or four really popular kids toys each season that are hard to get,” said Mills, “and if you find something online that’s too good to be true and it’s through a site that you can’t confirm is legit, stay away from that temptation.”
2. Consider online shopping with a credit card.
“Don’t use debit cards for these online purchases,” said Mills. Credit card companies are much easier to work with than banks in the event of fraud.
If you do experience online fraud, report it immediately to your credit card company. They’ll ask that you file a report with local law enforcement. The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office is here to assist you with fraud support.
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
When you’re shopping in person, Mills cautions residents to be sensitive to what’s around you. “Especially if you’re alone, just be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “Check around you when you get into your car.”
Traveling in a group, even if you shopped alone, can deter potential threats when you leave the store.
“Being the single person going into their car way across the parking lot, I would try to avoid that at all costs,” he said.
4. If you’re shopping in cities, be extra mindful.
“If people are going to Memphis or the Jackson area to shop, be very aware of your surroundings,” said Mills. “A lot of people go to Memphis to shop, so we want to be extra careful that they’re trying to go in those daylight hours, if at all possible.”
Vigilance is key in high-crime cities, whether you’re navigating crowded stores, loading your car with gifts or even filling up at the gas station.
“Use extreme caution and stay away from evening shopping.”
5. Your life is worth more than stolen items.
If faced with a potential theft, avoid escalating the confrontation, and put your well-being first.
“A purse, money, and credit cards are not worth confronting someone who might be armed,” said Mills. “Give them what they want and let them get going.”
Getting a good description of the thief, which way they run, or what their car looks like increases the chances of apprehending the suspect and recovering your stolen belongings.