Holiday Safety Tips

Don’t let the Grinch ruin your holiday season this year by having your wallet or purse stolen. The theft of a wallet can have a catastrophic effect on a person. The contents contained within your wallet are the keys to your everyday life. They contain your credit cards, debit cards, driver’s license and for some your social security card. These items when in the wrong hands can be used to commit fraud and identity theft.

The Thousand Oaks Police Department has seen an increase in wallet thefts occurring at restaurants and grocery stores throughout the city. The theft results in the use of the stolen credit and debit cards at retailers or online purchases immediately after the crime occurs.

The theft of a wallet can happen in a matter of seconds. Thieves will often work in groups of two and target purses that are left open or unattended. They generally use a ruse or distraction technique on the victim, while the other steals the wallet. The victim does not realize the wallet is stolen until they are ready to pay for their purchase.

The time frame from when the wallet is stolen till the time it is discovered missing is enough time for the suspect to make several purchases, costing victims thousands of dollars.

You can minimize any impact of a loss by acting quickly and notifying your financial institutions as soon as possible after the loss has been identified. We suggest creating a list of your wallet’s contents including account numbers and contact information and keeping them in a safe place for easy reference when you need it.

Protect yourself this holiday season by utilizing the following safety tips:
• Carry your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
• Do not leave your purse unzipped and unattended in your shopping cart or on a chair at a restaurant.
• Carry your purse across your body and as close as possible.

• Do not become distracted by your shopping, always stay alert.
• Be aware of your surroundings and individuals loitering near or around your shopping cart.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash with you.
• Set text or email notifications with your bank and credit card company to alert when a charge is made.
• Download your credit card apps to your smartphone so you can immediately lock your card if you discover your wallet missing.

In the event of a theft, you should file a report with the Thousand Oaks Police Department immediately by calling (805) 654-9511

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

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