* Stay alert and aware of what is going on around you. The holiday season can be distracting, with lots of glittering lights, holiday decorations and crowds of people. Make sure you pay attention to what is happening at all times.
* Park in a well lighted area and be sure to lock your car doors. Hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk so they aren’t visible to those passing by your car.
* Avoid carrying cash if at all possible. Use credit cards for holiday purchases. This makes you less vulnerable to thieves, and many cards offer increased warranties, and other protections for your purchases.
* Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Don’t put your purse down, and carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside pocket or in a front pants pocket. This will deter pickpockets and purse snatchers.
* If you are shopping with your children, talk to them ahead of time about what to do if they get lost in the crowd. Teach them to go immediately to a store clerk or a security guard and ask for help. If they are old enough, make sure they know your home phone number, your cell phone number and that your name is not just “Mommy” or “Daddy."