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Thieves ready to pounce on your holiday happiness

Ways to protect yourself and your gifts this holiday
Posted at 6:35 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 18:35:00-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It’s Christmastime, we’re all stressed and can get a bit frazzled.

Sometimes, especially during the holiday shopping hustle and bustle, we forget to do the simple things—like put cash in a secure location or make sure gifts are hidden in the car.

Police say thieves are ready to pounce on your mistakes.

“You will have people go through parking lots and one by one check cars to see if they’re unlocked,” said Trooper Jim O’Callaghan from the New York State Police.

Police say there are some things you should keep in mind while shopping this holiday.

With the emergence of online shopping experiences like Facebook Marketplace, officers say you should always meet to exchange the money and the goods in a secure location. They’re called “safe trade locations.” The Cheektowaga Police Department is one of them.

“They’re called Safe Trade Locations,” said Officer Jennifer Szymborski. “You can come here, do the exchange and then you know it’s in a safe place.”

Officers say you should always open the package in front of the person you just bought it from.

“Sometimes you won’t know it’s not the package that you wanted until they’re long gone,” she said.

If you’re shopping at a store, and found you left your wallet or someone swiped it, police say always keep an inventory of the cards you had in your possession.

After Christmas, you’re excited about that new TV, laptop or iPhone, but police say before you trash the box on the side of the road, think again.

“If I’m a thief, I can now see that you have a bunch of expensive stuff in your house.”

Officers say break down the boxes and leaver them in the garage until you can actually fit them in a bin.