The holidays can be very hectic time for Hoosiers, and in the rush taking simple safety precautions can be overlooked. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana State Police are reminding Hoosiers to keep safety in mind when shopping in stores or online this holiday season.

Online Shopping
Online shopping should only be done on a computer or device that belongs to the shopper, and on a secure and trusted network.  Important reminders when making purchases online:

·Only shop on well-known sites, and check to be sure they have security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure information.

·Be cautious of offers online. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

·Keep operating systems, browsers, and anti-virus software updated. Patches and updates for software are released when vulnerabilities have been discovered.

·Change passwords often, about every 30, 60 or 90 days.

·Set strong passwords using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

In the store
Retail outlets are often crowded during the holiday season. It’s easy to get distracted, but stay aware of the surroundings.

·Take time to identify exits, and the quickest, safest route to get out in case of an emergency. Remember, no bargain is worth ignoring a fire or other alarm.

·Have a plan in case children become separated. Select a central meeting place, and make sure they know who to call or where to go.

·Report suspicious behavior to on-site security, the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center at or 877.226.1026, or, if violence is imminent call 9-1-1.

Regardless of where or how a purchase is made, save all receipts. Print receipts from online purchases and keep them with receipts from store purchases. These can be used later to check credit card or bank statements for fraudulent purchases.

The Waynedale News Staff
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