JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Shoppers are are pouring into stores for the big deals and searching for the perfect holiday gifts during this season of giving.
But this is also the time of year when the bad guys are looking for that perfect opportunity to steal those gifts.
That’s why the Mississippi Insurance Department wants shoppers to take a few extra steps this holiday season to ensure your gifts don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“There’s a couple of things, you want to make sure you secure your wallet and your purse so that you’re not a risk for a theft, and later down the line possibly identity theft,” said Beth Reiss, communications director for the Mississippi Insurance Department. “You want to make sure you’re locking your vehicle. Put purchases out of sight in the trunk or covered up in your backseat, however you do it so it’s not obvious that you have purchases in that vehicle.”
With many people buying big ticket items, Reiss said it’s important everyone properly throw away holiday trash, because thieves could target your houses for your items.
“You don’t want a huge tv box sitting out on the curb letting people know we just purchased a brand new flat screen TV,” said Reiss. “Make sure it’s put into a black garbage bag, tied up securely, so that it’s not attracting attention to your home, that may prevent someone from trying to break in.”
Reiss said you should keep receipts and write down the serial numbers on anything you buy, that way it will be easier to track down your property should something happen to it.
“One of the things that we also recommend is that if you’re going to be purchasing especially large gifts this year, maybe you’re getting a really nice piece of jewelry, art, some kind of computer, or TV that’s costly, you may want to add that to your homeowner’s insurance policy,” said Reiss.
The state insurance department also encourages people to use an app on it’s website called, My Home Scr.APP.book.”
It allows you take inventory of all of your merchandise, and helps you recoup them should they be stolen.
“The great thing about that is when you go to file an insurance claim, it just makes things so much easier,” she said. “It means you’re going to get that claim filed faster and you’re probably going to see a return of your property, or a refund of your property that much faster.”
Another measure in place to keep shoppers safe is “Operation Safe Shop.”
It’s an initiative put in place by the Jackson Police Department.
Throughout the shopping season, JPD will setup patrols at shopping centers giving an extra layer of protection to help ensure there’s no suspicious activity happening at at the stores.