A shorter, more hectic holiday season requires extra care and safety precautions, said the Indiana Crime Prevention Coalition.
Following safe-shopping tips will help make the holidays happier, said ICPC Executive Director Scott Minier.
-Stay alert and aware of surroundings. Be especially aware if you feel yourself being pushed or jostled. Thieves sometimes work in pairs where one causes a distraction while the other grabs whatever he or she can.
-If you get lost, ask a store clerk, security guard or police officer to help. Even familiar malls and stores can get confusing when decorated, overstocked and crammed with shoppers.
-Hold packages tightly. It only takes a second for someone to walk off with a package someone else has set down.
-Keep your purse in front of you. Wallets should be kept in a front pants pocket or inside jacket pocket during this period.
-Park your vehicle in a well-lighted space. Make sure doors are locked and windows are closed. Hide shopping bags and other packages in the trunk or under the seat.
-Don't carry large amounts of cash or extra debit or credit cards. Flashing large amounts of cash may make you a target. It's better to pay with a debit or credit card because of the added documentation and insurance provided, but carry only the cards you need.
-Shop online only with companies you know and trust. Don't give vital numbers (credit cards, Social Security, etc.) to merchants whom you've not done business with throughout the year-- and especially not to those whom you did not contact, but instead contacted you.