Shoppers beware: ‘Tis the season to be criminal

Dec 21, 2016

Mukilteo police are cautioning residents to be on the lookout for ho ho home burglars and other humbugs who have a habit of harming our holiday happiness.

Thieves who “patrol” shopping center parking lots, follow delivery trucks in neighborhoods, and steal identities, credit card numbers and other information online are among the challenges Christmas shoppers face.

“Thieves are well aware of the increase in shopping activity during this time of year,” Police Chief Cheol Kang said.  “The community can reduce the opportunity for thefts to occur by following safe shopping tips.”

Police spokesman Myron Travis said home thefts are up due to the increasing number of people who shop online, resulting in more parcels being delivered to our doorsteps.

Thieves follow U.S. Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS and other delivery trucks, and when packages are left on a front porch, steal them before residents return home from work.

Travis recommends that you schedule deliveries when someone will be home, or insist that a signature be required for delivery. If no one is home, the parcel will be held, and a note will be left notifying the customer of the attempted delivery, he said.

Options include asking a willing neighbor who will be home to accept packages for you, or have them delivered to your workplace.

When you shop online, Travis recommended you check for security indicators like “https” at the beginning of a web address, which indicates that the page uses a secure form of encryption to protect any information you enter.

Those who do go out to shop, Travis said, should “be vigilant of their surrounds and be conscious about leaving purchases in public view inside their vehicle and returning to stores for additional shopping.”

Even if you put your purchases in the trunk to hide them from public view, thieves who cruise the parking lot may see that and use force to enter the trunk after you’ve gone back into the mall.

For additional information, call Travis at 425-263-8100 or email: crimeprevention@mukilteowa.gov.

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