News

Avoid Holiday Theft This Season With a Few Simple Measures

December 2, 2020, 11:52 AM HST
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Police alert Big Islanders to be prepared against typical holiday scams. PC: HPD

The holiday season is upon us, and familiar crimes are expected to resurface.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic will impact shopping and other holiday events, consumers must still remain vigilant of their surroundings and activities. There are measures you can take to prevent yourself from being victimized.

Police advise shoppers against leaving handbags or purses unattended in shopping carts, as being distracted for only a few seconds can provide thieves an opportunity to steal a handbag or purse and its contents. Instead, shoppers should maintain them on their person, with the strap placed over their shoulder, and the bag positioned on the opposing side with the enclosures zippered or snapped closed.

This also applies when shoppers are transferring items from their shopping cart to their vehicle. If you plan to do more shopping, it is a good practice to conceal your purchases in your vehicle so it doesn’t draw the attention of would-be thieves.

While writing a check for payment, make an effort to conceal your check while writing as it has your account information printed on it.

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Police also recommend that while using an ATM to withdraw money or making deposits, make sure you are able to conceal the entering of your PIN (personal identification number), as well as use your body to conceal your screen activities. Additionally, do not display your cash, but instead immediately place it in your bag, wallet, or pocket prior to leaving the ATM. Many ATMs have mirrors that allow users to see individuals behind them and it’s suggested that you use them while using the ATM.

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Make sure you always secure your vehicle, do not leave valuables in your vehicle, and whenever possible, park in well-lit areas.

Always be aware of your surroundings. If you witness suspicious activity or may have been a victim of theft or fraud, report it immediately by calling the Hawai’i Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

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