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SHERIFF KOON'S COLUMN: Make sure you shop safely this season

Lexington, SC (Sheriff Jay Koon) 12/11/2020 - You might have most of your holiday shopping done already, or be like me—working through your lists when you have the free time.

This time of year brings about extra concerns, whether shopping online or in stores. Especially with extra distractions brought on by COVID-19 and a very unique holiday season, thieves are looking for quick and easy thrills. Here at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, we want you to stay alert to protect yourself, your valuables and your personal information. Here are some safe shopping tips to help you avoid becoming a prime target:

• A single shopper is the best target for theft, shop with friends when you can.

• Tell someone where you’re shopping and what time to expect you to return. They should also know what you’re wearing and driving.

• Keep cash in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. This makes it more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove. Carry car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you’ll still be able to drive home.

• Put purchases in the trunk or hidden area of your vehicle. Never leave them in plain-sight and remove them when you get home.

• Keep a close watch on your credit and debit cards every time you use them. Get them back as quickly as possible.

• Shield your cards so others around you can’t copy the number or snap a picture of it.

• Only carry the cards that you absolutely need.

• Buy from sources you know and trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites, because the cards might be counterfeit or might have been obtained fraudulently.

• Inspect the gift card before you buy it. Make sure none of the protective stickers have been removed. See if the codes on the back of the card have been scratched off to reveal a PIN number.

To report any suspicious activity in or around a store, call 911. To report fraudulent financial activity, contact us at 803-785-2400.

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