By Tamas Mondovics

Editor

The 2018 holiday season is in full swing while local officials including members of law enforcement and fire rescue are ready to offer residents some appropriate safety tips.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Mountain City Police Department are very much aware of the potential for thefts as well as distractions that the holiday season brings.
“Many forget the very basics about safety either at home or when out shopping,” said JC Sheriff Eddie Tester.
WalletHub’s recent Holiday Studies and Reports offer many safety tips relating to protecting the consumer’s pocketbook.
The report mentioned that most consumers already have access to little-known credit card benefits that can come in handy over the holidays, including price-drop protection and coverage for damaged or stolen items.
All store credit cards do not charge an annual fee, and the average card offering rewards in the form of discounts give shoppers more than 29 percent off their first purchase, according to WalletHub’s 2018 Store Card Landscape Report.
Most of the major retailers offering zero percent financing use a dangerous feature called deferred interest, which has the potential to make holiday purchases up to 27.5 times more expensive than expected.
While for some, the joy or chore of the holiday shopping is winding down, for many a mad dash to the mall, or where they may find that perfect gift before it is too late, is yet to come.
Either way, to ensure this holiday season will not end in disappointment or disaster, putting safety first could help prevent possible crimes.

A few tips listed below may come in handy.

Shopping:
•When shopping, lock your car doors and roll up your windows.
•Limit the amount of cash you carry. If possible, pay with a credit or debit card.
•Keep your purse close to your body and your wallet in an inside jacket pocket if possible.
•Place all packages in your trunk, not visible to individuals walking close to your vehicle.
•Remember where you parked. Have your car keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
•Don’t leave cell phones, purses or other items in your parked car where they can be seen.

When using ATMs:
•Use one in a populated area and pay constant attention to your surroundings.
•If possible, use ATMs during daylight hours.
•If anyone is lurking near the machine, pass it up and find another.
•Remember to retrieve your credit/debit card after a transaction.

At Home:
•Be cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your home.
•Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
•Leave a light or a television on when away from home, so it seems the house is occupied.
•Be wary of strangers coming to your door asking for charitable donations.
•Do not leave boxes from gifts outside for the trash collector. Take them to a dumpster so that your house is not targeted by thieves that are looking for homes that have just bought new appliances, etc.

On Vacation:
•Before you leave, provide the Sheriff’s Office or Police department, with the dates of departure and return. Your home can be periodically checked by deputies or officers patrolling your area while you are gone.
•Notify the post office to hold your mail or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail daily.
-Have a neighbor pick up your newspaper each day.
-•Make arrangements to have your grass cut and watered while you are gone.
•Move valuables so not to be seen from windows.
•Have someone pick up flyers and circulars from your doorway.
•Leave your number with a trusted neighbor so that they may contact you should anything be suspicious.

Always report any / all suspicious persons, vehicles, or activity to local law enforcement.
In the event of an emergency, please dial 911.

For more report/ statistics please visit WalletHub: https://wallethub.com/edu/store-card-rates-and-rewards-report/28362/