November 23, 2023 – Charlotte County, FL

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reminds you to make this shopping season a safe one by following these common sense security tips:


  1. Be aware of your surroundings. In all the excitement of bargain hunting, make sure you remain vigilant while entering and exiting your vehicle as you come and go through busy parking lots, particularly during nighttime hours. Always be sure to keep your purse, wallet, phone, and keys close to your body or inside a secure pocket if possible.
  2. Protect your vehicle and your purchases by securing your items in the trunk of your car or out of sight when traveling from store to store.
  3. Prepare a safety plan for children. If possible, leave little ones at home, but if they must come with you have a plan in place in case you get separated. Teach them to look for someone who can help them such as law enforcement officers, store security or store personnel. When entering a store, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Supervision is imperative as children can easily become distracted and bad things can happen.
  4. Be extra vigilant behind the wheel. Many people will be out shopping in the days ahead, which might make the roadways busier than usual. Be patient and pay attention to those around you on the roads and in the parking lots.


  1. Try to use the same credit card when shopping online and keep track of each purchase you make. Should you notice any unfamiliar statement activity, be sure to report it to your credit card company right away.
  2. Avoid purchasing goods on fraudulent websites. Pay close attention to the website you are purchasing from. Many fraudulent websites use very similar URLs that appear like legitimate websites. If a deal looks too good to be true, do your research before making your purchase. When in doubt, exit out.
  3. Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping. Some networks may not be secure and could make you susceptible to hacking.
  4. Use a different password at every site. Yes, it’s extra work but will keep hackers from gaining access to all your accounts, including your bank account, should your password be compromised. If possible, shop from websites that you have an established account with and have made purchases from before.

Shop smart. Shop safe. Shop wisely.

“The holiday season is a great time to get lost in the spirit of giving, but remember that criminals are always in the spirit of taking. Take extra precautions to protect yourself and your purchases. Good luck with your holiday shopping, and happy holidays!”