(WVEC) -- With Black Friday just days away, marking the start of the holiday shopping season, The Portsmouth police department has released a few tips to help keep you safe, and make sure your items remain where they should be.
Shopping in person:
- Always make sure to park in a well lit area. Try to avoid spaces where there is little to no lighting.
- The closer the better. Try to park as close to the entrance as possible.
- Avoid shopping alone. Try shopping with a friend or family member.
- Do not leave your car running while unattended. This includes warming up your car, it makes it easier for thieves to steal your vehicle.
- If you are leaving valuables in your vehicle, make sure to hide them. Never leave items such as GPS or iPods in plain site. Always make sure that your doors are locked as well.
- Avoid purchasing more than you can carry. If you end up not being able to carry everything out by yourself ask for a store employee to help you carry your things to your vehicle.
- Try making several stops to your vehicle to drop items off. Put them in your trunk, instead of the backseat. Never leave your purchases visible from outside of your vehicle.
- Do not open your wallet or purse in front of other people, or advertise to others that you are carrying a large amount of cash.
- Never take out your credit card or check book until a cashier asks. This protects you from thieves glancing over your shoulder and obtaining your account information.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, especially at an ATM. Do not just look at the screen. If you see someone hanging around an ATM who doesn't appear to need to use it, contact police, and use a different ATM.
- Have your keys in your hand when returning to your vehicle, and always check the backseat before getting into your car. If something looks off, return to the store and alert the staff.
- If you are shopping with a child, or teenage, be sure to have a plan in case your become separated. Choose a place to meet and a time before you begin shopping. Always remind children that they may contact store or mall security if they are in need of help.
- Keep your bags close to your body, and your wallet on the inside of your coat or front pocket of your pants. Doing this will prevent pickpockets from stealing your items.
- If someone attempts to rob you, do not resist. Items are easy to replace, your life isn't.
- When purchasing items online, attempt to meet with the seller in a well lit public area. If possible, take someone with you.
- If you find an item online that is way below market value, be wary. If it seems too good to be true, it more than likely is.
- Consider using onetime or multi-use disposable credit cards or money orders while shopping online.
- Always print and save all confirmations when purchasing items online.
- As always, never drink and drive, and always be sure to pay attention to other drivers on the road.