MPD chief offers safe shopping tips


As the old adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That goes for one's physical health as well as shopping safety during the holidays.

Holiday shopping on Black Friday and beyond toward Christmas means more and more people will be out and about searching for that perfect gift. And that also means they'll be flashing credit and debit cards and carrying purchases to vehicles amid throngs of others doing the same.

And that can be a prime time for thieves. So some preemptive steps can save shoppers a lot of pain from a holiday theft.

Mayfield Police Chief Nathan Kent offered several tips for being extra cautious this holiday shopping season. Among the tips he suggested:

• Request alerts for whenever your cards are used somewhere unusual like another city.

• Check statements and online activity weekly. Call your bank if ever you suspect something amiss.

• Develop a variety of passwords, and make them complicated.

• Avoid shared computers.

• Avoid shared wi-fi if not secure.

• Avoid "to-good-to-be-true" deals online and sweepstakes that claim you won something for nothing, especially if you do not remember entering said contest at all.

• Don't answer "unknown" phone numbers.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you do carry cash, keep it in your front pocket.

• If you discover a credit card missing, notify the credit card company as soon as possible. Don't assume that you misplaced it, and will find it later.

Chief Kent also warned against leaving your vehicles unlocked.

"So often, we hear theft victims say, 'They just ran into the store for a moment.' There are folks that will prey on vulnerable behavior such as that," he said. "We see an increase in thefts from motor vehicles this time of year. Remember to lock your car even when at home."

Additionally, when shopping at more than one store, conceal merchandise in a vehicle's trunk, where it is not readily visible.

Lastly, he said law enforcement sees a spike in thefts of delivered packages from front porches this time of year. Kent said that if you know you won't be home to receive and expected package, consider asking a neighbor that will be home to safeguard the delivery until you can take possession of it.