New York State Police share holiday shopping guidance

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the holiday season in full swing, New Yorkers are encouraged to use caution while shopping. Whether it is something as simple as locking your vehicle or rolling up the windows, being vigilant can help protect you and your loved ones.

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick Chiumento says shoppers should stay alert and be aware of their surroundings. “Criminals look for any opportunity to steal and take advantage of their victims. If you see something suspicious, report it to law enforcement or mall security immediately.”

Police are encouraging shoppers to park in a well-lit, well-traveled area and to lock their vehicles. Other tips include:

  • Make sure windows are rolled up and no key fob is left behind
  • Shop with a friend or in a group
  • If shopping alone, don’t be afraid to ask security to escort you to your car
  • Store purchases in the trunk of your vehicle, under a blanket, or out of view
  • Do not leave valuables in your car
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep your money and credit cards in a front pocket

The Division of Consumer Protection is also cautioning New Yorkers against charity scams, which become more prevalent during the holiday season. Fraudsters may pretend to be affiliated with well-known organizations or even the government.

“The season of giving is in full swing, and people are purchasing gifts for loved ones and making generous donations to causes they care about,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “But before making these donations, it is important to remember that scammers like to prey on the good intentions of people, and we encourage New Yorkers to do their research before making donations so that these good deeds reach the right place.”

New Yorkers can access the Consumer Assistance Helpline at 1-800-697-1220 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding State Holidays. Consumer complaints can be filed online here.

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