Ottumwa Police offer tips for safe Black Friday shopping

We've all seen the footage of people getting trampled or elbowed in the nose reaching for that year's hottest toy, so to prevent any issues, the Ottumwa Police Department offered some tips for safe shopping this holiday season.

When shopping online, be sure to always use well-known retailers and browse the web on a secure connection with firewalls and anti-virus software installed.

Be sure to check your bank statements regularly and investigate any suspicious charges.

If charities ask for donations, always donate in person. Many criminals will take advantage of the holiday season and charities to use as a scam.

When shopping in stores, put all of your purchases in the trunk instead of the back seat and do not leave your purse or wallet in the cart while shopping.

Watch what the cashier does with your credit card when checking out to make sure that you card information is not being copied or documented. Also, don't stand with your wallet or a handful of cash while checking out, showing others how much money you are carrying on your person.

Also be sure to get receipts for everything you buy and only carry what you need (like your wallet, credit card and keys) to prevent anything of value being lost or stolen.

It's not also just in stores that you should be cautious, but out in parking lots as well.

"Park near light poles or exterior lights and if you ever feel threatened going out to your vehicle, immediately go back into the store where other people are and call the police," said Sergeant Chad Farrington of the Ottumwa Police Department. "It's not a bother, that's what the police department's here for, we have no problem coming over and checking on something that may seem suspicious. And other than that, just watch out in the parking lots, they're going to be busy, especially if the roads and parking lots, or if there's inclimate weather, it's going to be slick and icy. Just use due caution."

Sergeant Farrington said that usually there are no problems in Ottumwa over the holiday weekend and everything goes smoothly. He said people should always remember that no gift is worth fighting for and everyone should remember the reason for the season.