Sheriff urges safety on Black Friday
The day after Thanksgiving is no doubt the busiest shopping day of the year, and Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds urges residents to practice "hypervigilance" when out shopping this holiday season.
"Be aware of your surroundings at all times and secure your vehicle appropriately," Edmunds said. "People just need to be smart lock up your stuff in the trunk and out of sight."
Edmunds said the Sheriff’s Office works very closely with retail outlets in conducting security training geared toward the Black Friday shopping rush, but added "it’s really not something we think about just during the holidays."
Candice Wilson, General Manager of the Tanger Outlet, said their retail outlets will be prepared for this weekend’s shopping.
"We take precautions in regards to safety. We’ve hired extra security that whole weekend and hired Summit County Sheriff’s officers to be onsite as well," Wilson said.
There have been incidents in the past where vehicles have been broken into, Edmunds said, but the majority of those cases involved a shopper not locking their door while away.
Though the Sheriff’s Office provides security and theft prevention training for retail outlets, Edmunds said retailers often have those efforts well covered on their own.
"Retailers make sure they have people looking for retail theft. A lot of the cameras are hidden," Edmunds said, adding that many retailers employ other security measures. "Some of those [security measures] are readily apparent to the public, some are clandestine."
But shoppers won’t just be making purchases at retail outlets this holiday season; many will be buying products online. The Utah Department of Commerce gives shoppers tips for shopping smart and safe on the Internet, where threats like identity theft can be common. Some tips for online shopping from their press release include:
Use your smart phone wisely: Mobile devices may give identity thieves access to your personal and account information. Make sure any programs installed come from a legitimate source, keep an eye on your bill, notice if your battery drains quickly and make sure you log off of retailers’ websites.
Enter financial information only on secure sites: Never e-mail financial information such as a credit card or checking account number. If making an online purchase, look for a URL address that begins with ‘https’ or a lock icon they can be ways of telling if a site is secure.
Keep a paper trail in a file folder: Print and save copies of all of your online purchases, ensuring that the product description, price, online receipt and e-mails are included in case a gift needs to be returned.
Other tips from the Utah Department of Commerce include searching for discounts, coupons and free shipping opportunities for retailers’ websites, comparing prices and keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date.
2013 holiday retail sales are expected to reach $602.1 billion, a 3.9 percent increase from 2012, according to the National Retail Federation. With that increase comes more online promotions from retailers, and all the more reason shoppers need to take extra precautions whether they are shopping online or in town.
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