Shoppers Hunting For Deals

Expanded hours, generous discounts and free gift
cards are just some of the ways the nation's retailers are ushering
in the holiday shopping season on what's become known as Black
Friday. In the words of one expert, "Retailers are doing more to
get consumers into the stores earlier." The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, because it's when many retailers start making a profit for the year. Therefore, they use black ink in their record books, instead of red.

People can become vulnearble to thieves during the frenzy of holiday shopping. Law enforcement officials offer these tips:

Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

Dress casually and comfortably.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.

Always carry your California Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.

Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

Keep cash in your front pocket.

Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.

Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.