UNION COUNTY, NJ--As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that a few simple steps can help reduce the risk of falling victim to theft and scams.
“Staying alert and aware of your surroundings is an effective way to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable season,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen said. “Please ensure that your purse, wallet, and shopping bags are always securely on your person as you go about your holiday errands.”
When checking out at stores, shoppers are advised to remain at the cash register until they collect their change or credit cards, secure their purse or wallet, and gather their shopping bags firmly in hand.
“It’s easy to get carried away by the holiday rush, but taking a deep breath and making sure that all belongings are organized is an effective first step to reduce risks,” Bergen said.
To avoid theft in parking lots, check surroundings before opening the car, and keep all purchases out of sight in the trunk or under seats. Park in well-lit areas and ask store personnel for assistance with any concerns about parking lot safety.
Online shoppers also need to be aware and alert.
“Always ensure that you are on a legitimate site before making purchases, and take steps to secure your deliveries,” Bergen added.
Online shoppers who are concerned about delivery theft at their home address can designate an alternate delivery address. Some delivery companies have also set up secure package pickup locations for their customers.
Phone scams are another problem that can emerge during the holiday season. Residents are advised to contribute only to trusted charities, and never give out personal information over the phone.
To assist consumers in avoiding scams and fraud, including phone scams, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs provides access to an Anti-Fraud Toolkit.
Consumers in need of assistance with suspected consumer fraud in Union County can call the Union County Office of Consumer Affairs at 908-654-9840 or use the Consumer Affairs online fraud reporting form at ucnj.org/public-safety.
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