Going shopping?   The Michigan State Police have some common-sense safety tips for you.

“A primary factor in crime prevention is being aware of your surroundings and potential areas of danger,” stated Trooper Cecil Vashaw from the Michigan State Police Wayland Post. “By remaining vigilant and following a few safety tips, you can minimize your chance of becoming a victim and enjoy your holiday season.”

Mall shopping safety tips:

  • Avoid shopping alone. Use the buddy system whenever possible.
  • Park in well-lit, well-trafficked areas. Always lock your vehicle.
  • Have your keys in hand before exiting the shopping area and returning to your vehicle.
  • Do not keep packages in plain view in your vehicle; keep packages in the trunk of your car or covered by a blanket.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. If at all possible, do not bring a purse.  Keep your wallet in a front or zipped pocket.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash. Bring just one credit or debit card.
  • Do not count cash in open areas, especially after leaving an ATM.

Online shopping safety tips:

  • Shop only on Internet sites of companies you know and trust.
  • Only use secure websites.  To determine if a website is secure, look for a key or closed padlock at the bottom browser window and a URL that begins with “https,” not just “http.”
  • Protect your personal information.  Read the retailer’s privacy policy and never provide your Social Security number, birth date or mother’s maiden name.
  • Ensure your computer has the latest anti-virus software installed before shopping online.
  • Beware of emails offering cut-rate prices on popular items; if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.