The holiday shopping season is upon us, and the busiest days are yet to come. Many shoppers have started looking for those perfect gifts in-store and online.

The Indiana State Police would like to offer the following safety tips to ensure that your holiday shopping is safe and your packages stay out of the hands of the infamous “Porch Pirate.”  

When shopping in stores, stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you. Park in a well-lit area and be sure to lock your car.  Also, take extra caution when walking to and from your vehicle. If possible, Shop with a friend.  The Indiana State Police suggest avoiding carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card whenever possible. Do not leave purses unattended in shopping carts. Place gifts and other valuables in the trunk of your car.

If Shopping with kids, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if they get separated.

If you notice suspicious activity, contact store security or the nearest police agency.

Remember, the most important tip is to know who and what is around you.

For those shoppers who want to pass on the crowds and the wait in line, the ISP offers some shopping tips for online shoppers.  Use credit cards or PayPal to purchase online gifts.  Before entering any personal or credit card information onto a shopping site, see if the web address on the page begins with “https:” not “http:” That little’ s’ tells you the website is secure and encrypted to protect your information.  Also, don’t click on pop-up links. Make sure your Malware software is current and avoid using public Wi-Fi.

Protecting yourself from “porch pirates” is another issue that happens all too often this time of year.  Don’t leave packages unattended for an extended amount of time. Customize delivery to a location of the house not seen by the public and utilize security/doorbell cameras.  Online shoppers should pay attention to delivery notices and consider the use of porch lock boxes.

These are just a few tips to help you with your holiday shopping. The Indiana State Police want to remind citizens that if they see suspicious activity, dial 9-1-1 or their Indiana State Police post.