Stay Safe While Shopping In Stores and Online

Christmas sleigh

Don’t let the most wonderful time of the year turn into a nightmare by failing to heed safety precautions while shopping.

This is Black Friday, which marks the kickoff of the retail season. Stores and malls are often crowded, and it is easy to get distracted. Officials with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security urge shoppers to take time to identify exits and the quickest and safest route to get out in case of an emergency. They stress no bargain is worth ignoring a fire or other alarm.

Before you go shopping, have a plan in case children become separated. Pick a central meeting place, and make sure youngsters know who to call or where to go should they get lost. Any suspicious behavior should be reported to onsite security or the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center at or 877-226-1026, If violence is imminent, call 911.

Save receipts for all in-store and online purchases and check them against credit card or bank statements to guard against fraudulent purchases.

As for online shopping, experts say it should only be done on a computer or other device that belongs to the shopper and is connected to a secure and trusted network to reduce the likelihood of identity theft.

Only shop on well-known sites and make sure they have security enabled. Check the URL for “https://” or “shttp://.” Online offers that sound too good to be true probably are.

To ensure safety keep operating systems, browsers and antivirus software updated. Patches and software updates are released when vulnerabilities are discovered. Passwords should be changed every 30, 60 or 90 days and should use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation to ensure maximum safety. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

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