Black Friday crowds a haven for ID thieves -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Black Friday crowds a haven for ID thieves

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Millions will pack the malls for Black Friday and Dougherty County Sheriff's investigators say unless you're careful you could fall victim to identity theft.

Long lines, crowds, and distractions are the perfect mix for those looking to prey on others. Investigators say you can make it a safe holiday if you follow a few simple tips to protect your information.

It's the calm before the storm, as millions prepare to pack malls, looking for a deal through the first of the year, but don't let the search for a bargain make you a target.

"You can reach right into that purse from behind," explained Captain Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say the best way to protect your purse in a crowd is by keeping it under your arm and zipped. You can also wear the strap across your body. Taking just the essentials is key.

"I just changed purses I normally carry a suitcase so I kind of downsized a little bit and just put the necessities in there, left some of the credit cards at home," said Lisa Flournoy, a shopper.

It's good practice to make sure no one's watching as you check out, especially if you're using a debit card.

"Always keep your body between you and the people and the keypad, block it with your body and do it very quickly," said Dodd.

"I use my debit card sometime so basically I'm worried about whether I drop it whether or not someone takes it," said Adonicia Lewis, a shopper.

"On the back of your credit cards and your debit card, you need to put request photo ID don't put your signature," said Dodd.

Online shopping can be more dangerous, that's why the card you use should have a lower credit limit in case the information is stolen.

"Use only one credit card, don't use debit cards, and don't use multiple credit cards," said Dodd.

Just being vigilant can go a long way to keeping you safe this holiday. Another place you need to protect yourself is the parking lot.

Investigators say you need to be alert and recommend women never shop alone in the evening. They say always carry a flashlight with you and check the back seat of the car for an intruder before you get in.

If you see someone suspicious they say go back in the store and call security, if the store won't help you get safely to your car you should report them to the main office.

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