Countdown to Christmas! Have you started your holiday shopping yet?

Well, you better hurry because December 25th is going to be here before you know it. Whether you prefer to shop in-person at small businesses, at the local mall, or you'd rather shop from the comfort of your own home-- make sure you do so safely!

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Unfortunately, we usually seem a rise in scams and thefts during the holiday season. Just within the past few weeks we've been advised of gift card scams, Secret Santa scams, and a Michigan Lottery scam aimed at all of us who like to give scratch offs as stocking stuffers.

Whatever happened to "Goodwill towards men"?

Thankfully, the Kalamazoo County Sherriff's office is sharing tips for shopping safely this holiday season. Now matter how you do your shopping, please keep the following in mind:

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A lot of this is just plain old-fashioned common sense, but a quick refresher never hurts!

In-Store Shopping

  • Keep important belongings like purses close. If you can, putting your wallet in your front pocket is preferred.
  • Flashing your money around makes you a target. Don't take out cash or cards until prompted.
  • Shop during daylight hours and try to find a friend to tag along-- power in numbers!
  • Don't buy more than you can carry
  • Don't wear flashy or expensive jewelry while shopping.
  • Park in a well-lit area
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Online Shopping

  • Make sure antivirus software is up to date
  • Avoid shopping on public computers and/or public wi-fi networks like the library, for example
  • Use strong passwords with special characters
  • Make sure you're shopping on a secure site that starts with: https://
  • Bookmark your favorite shopping sites

However, the most important tip? Trust your gut.

If something feels wrong or an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. With each passing day the scammers get smarter and bolder, practice safe shopping to ensure your Christmas is very merry, indeed.

Happy holidays!

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