For local consumers, Cyber Monday is a chance save on items purchased online, but for local thieves its a chance to steal and pillage all season long.
Detectives with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are warning SCV residents who shop online this holiday season to be aware of making online buys and of allowing packages purchased online to be delivered to vacant homes, left on unguarded doorsteps.
“Package thefts are reported to us throughout the year but there is an increase in package thefts around the holidays,” SCV Sheriff’s spokeswoman Shirley Miller told The Signal Monday.
“It becomes a ‘crime of opportunity’ for thieves,” she said. “They know that many people are ordering gifts this time of year and they are on the lookout for unattended packages. We advise the public to be proactive this holiday season to prevent being a victim of a package theft.
“Track your packages and know when they are arriving. If you can’t be home, let a family member or neighbor know so that they can pick it up for you,” Miller said.
“And, if you notice any suspicious activity in your neighborhood, please contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and we will have a deputy do a patrol check.”
The warning about packages was posted Monday on the sheriff’s Facebook page. And, while the caution addresses concerns about items purchased online, detectives also have a warning about the actual purchasing of those items.
On “Cyber Monday” they Tweeted a warning about identity theft.
Their message was simple – and scary: “ Use credit card, not debit card online. If account is compromised, all of your cash won’t be swiped.”
“Our Forgery and Fraud detectives recommend not using debit cards for online purchases,” Miller said.
“If a criminal gets access to your debit card information, he can clean out your bank account,” she said. “It is advised to use credit cards for online purchases.
“There is also the option of purchasing prepaid debit card that can be used for online purchases,” she said. “Pay close attention to your credit card statements. If you notice any fraudulent charges, contact your credit card company immediately.”
Victims of identity theft, she said, can report Identity Theft to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. You can also file a re-port with the Sheriff’s Station.
Over the last decade, the Monday that follows Thanksgiving and the “Black Friday” discounted shopping tradition has become known as Cyber Monday, The day was promoted by marketing companies as a day to shop for online.
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