Don't Let Thieves Steal Your Holiday
The holidays are a time for family and fun, but they are also a busy time for thieves. The Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) urges consumers to be wary of would-be Grinches.

" This is the prime shopping season, and also prime time for thefts and other crimes," said BSIS Chief Steven Giorgi. "But, if you're careful and follow a few simple security hints, you can keep thieves at bay."

BSIS is offering the following advice as part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Consumers' Holiday Wish Campaign:

Don't linger in the parking lot of a store or mall.

Before entering a store, remember where you're parked and which entrance and exit you'll use. When you're ready to leave, get your car keys out before you exit the building, and quickly store your purchases out of sight, preferably in the trunk.

Be constantly aware of your surroundings: Think safe, be safe.

Keep purses and wallets close at hand. Whenever possible, use breast pockets in jackets or front pockets in pants to store keys or money. Keep an eye on your credit cards: Make sure you get them back from cashiers.

If you are the victim of a theft or some other crime, look for a uniformed security guard. They are trained to act quickly to protect consumers, notify authorities and collect information that may help police catch suspects. If no uniformed guards are around, contact a store employee or go to the mall's information booth to report the incident. If you put gifts under a tree, keep nearby windows closed and and drapes or blinds shut at night or when no one is at home.

If you use a home security system or a security patrol company, the holiday season is a good time to reacquaint yourself and your family with those pertinent procedures and telephone numbers. " To not let thieves steal my holiday" is just one wish on the Department's "Consumers' Holiday Wish List." For more holiday consumer tips, check the Department of Consumer Affairs Web site at

The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services is one of many boards, bureaus and programs within the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The Bureau licenses approximately 185,000 security guards and 2,500 security guard agencies.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects consumer interests. Call (800) 952-5210 or click for information on various consumer issues.

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