As COVID concerns continue and changes to available shopping resources occur, the Prescott Valley Police Department would like to share information with our citizens to keep them and their loved ones safe from theft this holiday season:
- The rise of online shopping has led to an increase of home deliveries- and with it an increase in “porch pirates”, or thieves who steal packages from doorsteps and porches. If no one is home to intercept a package, consider shipping to a safe location.
- Use only official retailer apps to shop. An application from an unknown source could be laced with malicious software designed to infiltrate your smartphone or computer and steal information. Look for the Padlock symbol which indicates a secure website.
- While it may be convenient to store personal and payment information in your online accounts, it does come with a risk. Some retail websites may not be equipped to secure your information, leaving you vulnerable to cyberthieves or data breaches. A better option would be to use a password manager or a digital wallet or app, such as Google Pay, Apple Pay or Venmo for an added layer of security.
- Never make purchases on public Wi-Fi. You might be tempted to make your purchases while enjoying a hot coffee at a local coffee shop. Keep in mind, Wi-Fi networks use public airwaves. Someone can intercept the data you send and receive while on free public Wi-Fi and use your information to make unauthorized purchases using your account information.
- Always purchase with credit cards, not debit cards. You will usually get the best liability protection- online and offline- when you use a credit card. If you must use a debit card, use pre-paid debit cards is another good option as it removes a lot of the risk that goes with online shopping. The money being spent isn’t connected to your credit history or a bank account. The thief can’t open new credit accounts in your name, drain your checking account or make purchases over the amount you’ve already loaded.
- After purchasing gifts, keep an eye on all your accounts and bank statements. Check your statements for fraudulent charges at least once a week or set up account alerts. When you receive a notification about a charge, you can easily and quickly recall if you recognize a charge.
For more holiday safety information contact the Prescott Valley Police Department at (928) 772-9267 and for emergencies always dial 911. You may also contact Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232. As always, if you see something, please say something.
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