Shopping Safety

Shopping In Stores

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If shopping at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, pay with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Notify the credit card company immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Deter pickpockets; carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
  • Always be alert and aware of the people around you.
  • If opening a purse or wallet in public, first scan the area around you.
  • Do not use mobile devices while walking in public.  Attackers often prey on distracted victims.
  • Do not wait in line with your credit card or checkbook in your hand visible to others.  An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.

Shopping With Children

  • If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.  Consider selecting a central meeting place.
  • Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
  • Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
  • Never allow young children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
  • Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
  • Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

Walking To And From Your Car

  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. If you have a car alarm button, keep your finger ready on the key fob alarm button.
  • Scan the area before even stepping into the parking lot.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and people as you walk through the parking lot. 
  • Be prepared to respond if approached or attacked.
  • If approached by a stranger in a threatening manner, shout loudly “9-1-1” and move toward the store or other people in the parking lot, keep shouting “9-1-1”.
  • Do not leave packages visible through your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or an area not easily seen from outside the vehicle.
  • Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.

Shopping Cart Distraction Scam – Here’s how it works:

  • One subject distracts the shopper with conversation or a request for assistance or advice on a product.
  • A second subject steals the wallet or other valuables from the victim’s purse, which was left unattended in the shopping cart.
  • The victim is often unaware of the theft until much later.

Shopping Online

  • Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. All computers should have anti-virus and a good firewall installed.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
  • Verify with your credit card company that you are protected for online purchases.
  • Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar, especially emails from businesses that you are not registered with, these are almost always scams.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
  • Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
  • If meeting up with someone to complete a purchase found online:
    • Meet in a populated, well-lit location. 
    • Consider meeting at the police station.
      • The Brighton Police Station lobby is open daily from 8am – 4pm.
      • The Brighton Police Station front entrance pad is illuminated and video recorded 24/7.

Additional Precautions

  • Keep a record of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Save all receipts. 
  • Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.
    • Start a file folder to keep all receipts together.
    • Compare and verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
  • Please also visit our webpage on Personal Safety for more information.
To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.