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Helpful safety tips for a happy holiday season

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

While the holiday season brings with it things like joy and Christmas cheer, it also ups the potential for thieves and scammers to put a damper on your yuletide spirit.

In light of potentially increased criminal activity this holiday season, Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon would like to share the following tips to help local residents have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year’s:

  • When shopping online, always use secure sites that will protect you and your identity.
  • Do not write your pin number on your card in case it is lost or stolen.
  • When having packages delivered and you work, have them delivered to your place of employment or to a neighbor’s house that is home during the day. Remember, packages that are left on the porch are subject to be stolen by thieves at any time, especially this time of the year.
  • Do not leave packages in your vehicles overnight, which will also invite thieves.
  • After Christmas, remember to burn or otherwise discard of any boxes that are trash. Throwing them out on the street will also invite burglars to do their own Christmas shopping at your residence with electronics.
  • Putting Christmas trees in front of large windows is pretty, but it also invites thieves when they can see the gifts that are under the tree.
  • Ladies, when shopping this time of the year you should shop in groups for protection from purse snatching and other types of robberies. Always be aware of your surroundings and things going on around you.
  • Remember this time of the year is the worst time for scammers trying to get people’s personal information and bank account information. When these people call you and start questioning you about things you do not feel comfortable with, hang up on them. Anytime you get a call on something you are not sure about, please call us or your local municipality and verify it before you give out any personal information. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Scammers are making it more personal now so you are more likely to fall for what they are saying, including actually naming local elected officials and their office staff to make it sound more believable. We do not call you for money if a warrant has been issued for your arrest. This is a scam. Call law enforcement before you give them anything.
  • This would also be covered by our brothers in red, but remember to keep your live trees watered to keep them from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.