Holiday spending is up, according to a National Retail Federation survey that found Americans plan to spend 3.4 percent more than we did last year.
As millions of Americans prepare to spend some serious money this holiday season, security experts are warning the public to be prepared. And taking just a few extra precautions when shopping can help stop you from getting more than you bargained for.
Here in the Coachella Valley, holiday season is in full swing with a lot of traffic on El Paseo and the Palm Desert Mall.
With all those of shoppers, crooks are on the prowl for items.
“The ways in which people are scamming other people these days are as inventive as they are frequent,” said Peter Dunn, a personal finance expert.
Brent Basore, co-owner of Sagebrush Beauty Studios in Palm Desert, said he recently fell victim.
“I was pretty upset that money was taken out of my account from what looked to be my ATM after I drove away.”
The culprit cleaned out one of his bank accounts. “Had it been my business account, it could have been devastating,” said Basore.
That’s why experts say it’s important to inspect ATM machines for loose attachments, and also to cover the keypad with your hand as you enter your personal ID number, even in places like the grocery store.
While you’re shopping the aisles, experts recommend strapping a purse or a backpack into the child restraint. That way if someone tries to take it, they’re not going to get very far.
Experts also advise you to be alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
Park in well-lighted spaces, and don’t forget to lock the car.