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Police Urge Holiday Shoppers To Avoid Scams, Don't Leave Packages On Porches

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Online sales are predicted to hit $124 billion this holiday season according to Adobe. With so many virtual carts filling up, police are urging shoppers to take some precautions to protect their money and their purchases. 

For starters, Johnson City Police Chief Brent Dodge says online shoppers should be careful what websites they hand over their credit card information to. 

"If you're getting solicitations via email or pop ups on your computer, that's something to be leery about," says Dodge. 

Dodge says to buy from reputable retailers that you've heard of, been referred to by family or friends, or that you've thoroughly researched and vetted. Once you make a purchase, Dodge says to use the tracking tool to make sure you're at home when the package arrives. Leaving a package on a porch for a long period of time can open you up to theft.

"There are people who go around looking for those kind of things," says Dodge.

The Johnson City Police get several calls for package thefts every holiday season. If you can't be home during the day, Dodge suggests asking neighbors or family members to keep an eye out and bring packages into a safe place until you can retrieve them. 

Small home security cameras pointed at porches and driveways can help police make an arrest if a theft does occur.

If you're planning on shopping in brick and mortar stores, Dodge says it's a good idea to hide purchases under seats or in trunks between stops and to always opt to keep the receipts with you rather than in the bag.

"It makes it really easy for the thief to return them. And if we happen to encounter them and question them, if they can produce a valid sales receipt, it makes them look credible and it makes it harder for us to determine who's really the proper owner of the packages," says Dodge.

Thefts from motor vehicles accounted for 26.8% of all larceny-thefts in the United States last year.