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Officials offer tips for safe holiday shopping

Strategies for in-person and online gift-buying

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, the Pleasanton Police Department is offering up tips for safe gift-hunting to prevent unwanted steals.

In a holiday shopping safety flier distributed by the department, police provide several pieces of advice for patrons. Besides warning against leaving packages visible in cars, law enforcement officials say shoppers should not buy more than they can carry.

"If you must, drop some items at your vehicle and re-enter for more shopping, but not before hiding your loot and moving your vehicle to another location," an excerpt from the guide reads.

Other tips include:

* Deter pickpockets by carrying a wallet or purse close to your body, and only keep on hand the credit cards and cash intended for use.

* Have keys in hand when walking from the store to your car, and be aware of your surroundings when doing so.

* If shopping with small children, make a plan in case separated.

* Keep track of your personal information.

For those who eschew the long mall lines for online shopping, the National Cyber Security Alliance has these tips:

* Before you start looking, make sure all web-connected devices are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.

* Use the strongest authentication tools possible, such as security keys or a one-time code, to protect access to key online accounts like email and banking.

* When using a new website for holiday shopping, read reviews and see what other customers have to say about it.

* When you're on the go, limit the type of business you conduct over public WiFi connections.

* Toss emails and texts with suspicious links.

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