Holiday Shopping Safety

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Heidi Davidson of the Grand Junction Police Department stops by to talk about holiday shopping safety tips.

Here are those safety tips courtesy of the GJPD:

1. Protect yourself from electronic pickpocketing. The same technology that allows consumers to make convenient purchases with their credit or debit card can also enable a thief to steal information and make purchases on your accounts. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows for “contactless payment” for purchasers, forgoing the usual swipe, processing, receipt, and signature for standard electronic transactions. With the right equipment, thieves can access your card information without a direct line of sight from up to 100 meters away, simply by being in your vicinity. Consider purchasing a wallet or sleeve that blocks RFID scanner waves. They are affordable and reliable, and are sold by multiple vendors.

2. If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or friend desperate for money, or perhaps a charity seeking funds for a cause near and dear to your heart, resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story. Hang up and check out the story or organization by checking with family and friends, or doing research online. NEVER wire money before confirming all the details with trusted advisors. Remember, in this age of technology and social media, it can be easy for motivated thieves to find details about your life, and they will play on your emotions.

3. We all want the lowest price possible on our holiday purchases, but not at the expense of a costly scam. When shopping online, transact business with well-known sites and retailers, and look for an “https” at the beginning of the web address. That “s” means the site uses an encrypted connection, which will help protect your financial information.

4. Have you heard the term “porch pirates”? This refers to the unsavory criminals that follow delivery trucks, hoping to snag packages from your front porch before you know they’ve been

delivered. If you’re ordering items online, have them shipped to a neighbor who will be home to accept the delivery, or ask the company to hold the package at their delivery center for you to pick up. Request that your package be marked “signature required,” or add special delivery instructions to have the package left out of sight, such as behind a gate or at your back door.

5. As always, don’t leave your car unlocked with your valuables inside. Although the trunk of your car may seem like a good place to hide gifts from Santa, there are plenty of “Grinches” out there that would love to access your vehicle and help themselves to the treasures tucked away inside.

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