These tips will help you foil thieves this holiday season

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- While holiday shoppers are getting ready to be out in full force, you also need to watch out for thieves.

You need to be on guard and aware of your surroundings as, unfortunately, criminals are looking to strike at any opportunity.

Detective Christin Reimann with the Durham County Sheriff's Office suggests after making any purchase don't leave the shopping bags out in the open in your vehicle.

"If you can lock it in a trunk, it's a lot harder for people to get into the trunk than in the main cabin," she said.

If you ever notice suspicious activity around you while shopping, she said you can never be too careful.

"Always carry your keys with you in your hand. Always be aware of your surroundings, and if you need to call law enforcement, or someone from the store and ask them to walk you to your car," Reimann said.

When it comes to purchases made on for-sale apps and websites, such as Craigslist, Offer Up, or Let Go, play it safe by taking advantage of meeting in safe areas.

The Durham County Sheriff's Department has what's known as Safe Haven for online sales.

"Call the sheriff's office. We will meet you in our flat lot that's located, we will be there officer present and that way you don't have to worry about any crime that will happen against you," Reimann said.

The meeting lot is at the Durham County Courthouse parking lot on S. Roxboro Street and Pettigrew Street. You just call (919) 560-0900 to schedule an appointment.

Reimann said another crime to watch out for this holiday happens in your mailbox.

"A lot of people are getting their mail stolen," she said.

Thieves are looking for that red flag up on the mailbox, especially if there is an envelope inside that has a check, cash, or gift cards. If you're mailing something out, take it to a big blue USPS mailbox, and drop it in here.

As for any online activity if you're not in your home on your own private network, be careful using public Wi-Fi.

"Say you're doing online banking, online shopping these people can pull up the pages that you're exactly looking at and as your typing it in, and they are getting that information," Reimann added.
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