With the holiday shopping season just days away, Chief Joseph Solomon and the Methuen Police Department wish to remind residents to be vigilant in order to protect themselves from falling victim to scams and theft.
“With so much activity beginning on black Friday, and continuing until Christmas, it’s important for residents to protect themselves while shopping in stores and online,” Chief Solomon said. “It’s also critical for people to maintain a heightened sense of awareness while driving near crowded shopping plazas, so that everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season.”
To help residents protect themselves, Methuen Police offer the following tips for shopping both online and in retail stores:
- Make sure to keep valuables out of view, and lock car doors when the vehicle is unattended.
- Shoppers and retail workers should not hesitate to report any suspicious activity to police.
- Remain alert — and off the phone — while driving in busy areas, and keep an eye out for pedestrians in crosswalks and busy parking lots.
- Only complete online purchases from websites you know are legitimate, and do research on any that seem unfamiliar.
- Beware of deals that seem too good to be true, especially those you see in unsolicited emails or on social media.
- Always buy store gift cards directly from those retailers, rather than from the rack at grocery or convenience stores. Scammers can record card numbers and use them to steal the value of a card once they’re sold.
- Avoid using public Wifi networks when shopping online, as they are often unsecured and can leave personal data vulnerable.
- Always keep close tabs on your belongings when shopping in public. It can take only a few seconds for thieves to steal wallets and other sensitive items from pockets or purses.
- Verify the authenticity of any charities or causes you wish to support by checking on giving.org or charitynavigator.org.
- Beware of any unsolicited phone calls from unfamiliar numbers.
“I’m confident that following these tips will help our residents protect their personal information and belongings,” Mayor James Jajuga said. “I encourage everyone to exercise patience when visiting local businesses during busy times, and to remain vigilant and report anything that seems out of the ordinary.”
Residents who see or hear anything suspicious are asked to call the Methuen Police Department at 978-983-8698, or use 911 in an emergency.