BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Tis the season for giving, but the police department in Bossier City, Louisiana, doesn’t want scammers to take advantage of your kind holiday spirit.

(AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

“Be wary of strangers who approach you for money. Look out for phone scams, fake charities, and people posing as representatives from legitimate charities. Never give out personal information over the phone. Do your research if you decide to give to a charity you are unfamiliar with,” recommends the BCPD.

The BCPD said there are numerous ways to keep yourself and your family safe while shopping. These tips can help you make the most of the holiday season while protecting you from becoming targeted by criminals.

Don’t be an easy target for criminals

  • Shop with a friend!
  •  Leave your purse at home and carry your wallet and keys in a fanny pack or coat pocket.
  •  Always hide your money when you’re in public. Use credit cards or checks when possible.
  •  Only use an ATM during daytime hours.
  •  Use only websites and apps that you genuinely trust. Look for the SSL, secure sockets layer, and padlock on websites.
  •  View your account statements regularly.
  •  Park as close to stores as possible, preferably in a well-lit area.
  •  Don’t leave packages in the cab of your car or truck. Keep your shopping bags in the trunk.
  •  Leave the lights and a radio or television on in your home when shopping in the evening.
  •  Lock all windows and doors before you leave your home.
  •  Do not place your Christmas Tree and gifts where others can see them through your windows.
  •  Save receipts for all gifts and create a current record of your valuables, including serial numbers, pictures, and distinguishing marks.

Shopping safety with kids

  • Try to leave your kids with a babysitter when you shop, but if you must take them, keep a close eye on them when they’re in dressing rooms and restrooms.
  •  Create an action plan to help your family reunite if you are separated while shopping, and create a meeting place where your kids can go in case they get lost.
  •  Make sure your kids know your phone number.

Safety while you’re out of town during the holidays

  • Have a trusted friend check on your home daily when you’re out of town.
  •  Make it look like you’re home even though you’re away.
  •  Don’t post anything about your trip on social media until after you’re home.
  •  BCPD will check on your home while you’re away through their Vacation Watch Program. If you’re interested in having police watch your home while you’re out, call (318) 741-8605.

BCPD pointed out that most criminals are opportunists, so don’t make it easy for anyone to steal from your person, home or car.

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