As the busy holiday season quickly approaches the Fort Myers Police Department would like to keep residents safe while they shop this coming weekend. The first official day of the holiday shopping season known as “Black Friday” is associated with bargains, early store hours, and Christmas shopping. Many savvy shoppers and bargain-hunters look forward to the thrill of shopping on Black Friday. Unfortunately, thieves also anticipate this busy season as they look to turn unaware shoppers into Black Friday victims. FMPD would like all shoppers to consider the following safety tips:
- Always know your surroundings. A distracted shopper is a prime target for opportunistic criminals.
- Try to get most, if not all, of your shopping done during daylight hours.
- Shop in pairs if possible.
- Do not buy more than you can carry.
- Don’t flash the cash. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Do not leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
- Always lock your car doors.
When shopping with children:
- Have a plan in case you are separated from each other.
- Select a central meeting place.
- Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
- Have them memorize or keep your cell phone number handy
- Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
- Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
- To avoid purchasing counterfeit products, carefully examine the products you want to buy for signs of missing information (manufacturing information, warranty, product codes, etc.), broken or missing safety seals, different or incomplete packaging, and subtle or obvious changes to a company logo.
As always if you see anyone acting suspicious please do not hesitate to call the Fort Myers Police Department. Be a good witness and let us investigate further.
Lieutenant Victor Medico
Public Information Officer
Fort Myers Police Department
2210 Widman Way
Fort Myers, Florida 33901