Sheriff Babb: Be careful while holiday shopping


Christmas shopping time is nearly here and Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb has tips for the holiday season that pertain to shopping, burglaries and precautions for financial transactions.

When it comes to retail shopping, Babb said the most important thing for shoppers to do is to make sure there is nothing in view in their vehicle that would give a would-be thief a reason to target the vehicle.

“Don’t leave anything in view from the outside of the vehicle. Keep everything of value in the trunk or hidden from view. Don’t be a target,” Babb said.

Babb also had advice for shoppers once they leave their vehicle and are approaching stores.

“After leaving the car, avoid talking on the phone or doing things that can distract you,” said Babb. “And if you are carrying a bag or purse, keep it close to your body and, once inside the store, never sit it down where somebody can grab it.”

Babb had other holiday shopping safety suggestions when paying for those Christmas items. It might be a good idea to use a credit card for purchases rather than using cash or a check or debit card. When using a credit card the financial institution is assuming the immediate risk, Babb said. Other methods of payment such as cash would not be recoverable, Babb said.

Still another suggestion is for citizens to check their credit card and banking sites to daily to see if any unauthorized activity has occurred. And if a card is stolen or if there is any unauthorized activity, report those findings to the bank or financial institution the same day, said Babb.

Another precaution for the holiday shopping season can be taken at home. Babb suggested taking a photo of credit cards and archiving those photos securely. The same applies to expensive items such as electronics and the serial numbers on them, said Babb.

And for those with alarm systems on their homes, Babb said having an audible alarm on the exterior of the home will alert others in the area if the door is opened by someone other than the resident.

Babb also said deputies will be on the look-out this holiday season for impaired drivers.

“Don’t drink and drive,” said Babb. “If you are going to a holiday party, have a designated driver. And if you are the designated driver, make sure to keep your commitment.”

Babb’s last word of advice dealt with community responsibility.

“The presence of deputies is a physical deterrent, but we can’t be everywhere. So call 911 if you see any suspicious activity,” said Babb.