FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is sharing some tips to help residents make sure they have a safe and happy holiday season by avoiding thefts, accidents, scams and other holiday shopping pitfalls.

According to the sheriff’s office, when it comes to holiday shopping, consumers should take some extra precautions when it comes to protecting their personal information. If you’re sticking to online shopping this year, be on the look out for holiday scams or signs of possible identity theft. Check customer reviews and search to see if there are any Better Business Bureau complaints against the retailer or online store.

The sheriff’s office says you should also check to make sure a webpage has a lock icon in front of the URL field and that the URL starts with “https” as the “s” means the page is more secure. Deputies also say avoid using a debit card for online shopping because dispute reimbursements may be smaller than for credit cards.

Deputies encourage shoppers to keep purses close to their bodies or wallets in a coat pocket or front pants pocket to avoid potential pick pocketers and thieves. Another tip they say is to wait until prompted by the cashier before taking out your money and avoid showing a lot of cash in your wallet. They also encourage shoppers to try limiting their holiday shopping to only one credit card so that if something does happen multiple cards are not compromised. And of course, save your receipts!

The sheriff’s office is also urging shoppers to avoid putting themselves in physical danger by staying away from certain situations, such as arguing or fighting over an item and to ask for help from employees if you need to move or lad a large, heavy item.

Another tip from the sheriff’s office is when shopping with children, make sure you have a central location set in case you get separated. Deputies also encourage families to teach their children how to find a security guard or employee to ask for help if they get lost.

Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores also means traveling to get to the store, and with more people out and about, the FCSO says more aggressive drivers may also be on the road. Deputies are reminding drivers to “drive defensively” and don’t add to the problem by allowing any road rage to rise while you’re traveling.

Driving safety also applies to parking lots, the sheriff’s office says. Drivers are encouraged to be patient while looking for a parking space and avoid speeding up to get to the empty or soon-to-be empty space first. Along with driving, other tips to keep you and your car safe in the store parking lot include parking in a well lit area, locking your vehicle, keeping shopping bags out of plain sight in your vehicle, and avoid keeping valuables in your car.

Drivers should also have their keys in hand, make a mental note of where they parked, and check under and around their cars before approaching.