There are several key times each year when people spend time shopping in stores and online for the perfect gifts for their loved ones, or themselves. While it is easy to get caught up in the fun of it all, it is important to remember that with increased purchasing come a higher risk of theft.

With the Christmas season upon us, more cars are parked at shopping areas or at home while their owners are out shopping or attending parties, offering criminals more opportunity to steal your belongings. Some tips to consider when out shopping this holiday season, remove your keys from the ignition and take them with you, lock your vehicle and never hide a second set of keys in your vehicle. It is also a good idea to  park in attended lots that are well-lit and never leave your vehicle running, even if you will be gone for only a minute. To eliminate drawing unwanted attention to contents in your vehicle, place packages or bags and other tempting items, especially cell phones and other electronic equipment out of sight. When shopping, do not leave purses or bags unattended in shopping carts. All it takes is a split second for a thief to walk by, remove your bag and flee undetected.

To reduce the threat of theft or identity theft, its reminded when paying for your items, be wary of openly displaying credit cards, as they contain vital financial information that identity thieves can write down or photograph. If paying with cash, avoid openly displaying the contents of your wallet. It is reminded to always be weary of your surroundings this holiday season and hroughout the year.