SIDNEY – With holiday shopping in full swing, Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart said during his weekly interview, that shoppers need to take precautions to protect themselves.
Online shopping has never been easier or more convenient, Lenhart said, and approximately half of all shoppers plan to make online purchases this season.
“There’s every reason in the world to shop online,” he said. “The bargains are there, and the selection is mind boggling.”
However, scammers are taking advantage of the large number of online shoppers. Scammers can steal money and steal shoppers’ identity, Lenhart said.
More than half of shoppers, 56 percent, said they plan to make online purchases this year, Lenhart said, and 8 percent said they have been victims of identity theft.
Lenhart said he’s even been a victim when he received a $25 gift certificate for a restaurant.
“We went to redeem it, and it was already spent,” he said.
People who plan to buy gift cards should do so at a reputable source, such as from the store or restaurant itself.
When shopping online in a public space, individuals should be wary about using public Wi-Fi because scammers often use public Wi-Fi to steal from victims.
“Really watch what you’re doing in there because that’s where a lot of these occur,” Lenhart said.
It’s best to complete online orders in a secure place instead of out in the open.
Shopping through a retailer’s app on a smartphone can be an ideal choice. If visiting a retailer’s website, be careful.
“When visiting a retailer’s website, ensure that the website address is spelled properly,” Lenhart said.
Misspellings in a retailer’s website, such as a second “L” in Walmart, are signs of a scam.
“Walmart is not going to misspell their name,” Lenhart said.
When shopping online, be sure to visit trusted retailers.
“Don’t buy from unfamiliar retail outlets,” Lenhart said. “If you buy from unfamiliar retails, you’re really setting yourself up.”
Also, use a credit card when making online purchases instead of a debit card as credit cards offer protections that debit cards do not.
One in four individuals don’t change their online passwords, which is a mistake, Lenhart said.
“Change your password on a regular basis,” he said.
Additionally, make sure not to over-share information such as credit card numbers and social security numbers.
“Crooks get them, and when they get that credit card information they can cause a lot of problems,” Lenhart said.
Lenhart also cautioned motorists to be aware of deer crossing roadways with hunting, harvesting and rutting all leading to increased movement of deer.
“We’re averaging about three vehicle crashes a day that involve deer,” he said. “Most of those accidents are several thousand dollars.
“The suggestion is really watch what you’re doing when you’re driving at dusk and dawn because the deer are on the move.”
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.