Buyer beware: Holiday shopping safety

November 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) Retail theft cost retailers billions of dollars each year. During the holidays, stores get ready to fight back with more employees and state-of-the-art technology.

"Keeping ahead of crime is always difficult and yes you need to keep advancing technology… We have advance technology that helps us corner thieves," said Lee Crum, Target store manager.

Crum said shoppers must learn to be smart in order to make their shopping experience a safe and happy one. This is the time of year that people are more vulnerable

"One of the things I generally look for, especially with the laides, is they're shopping and they leave their purses unattended," said Crum.

The Department Of Business Affairs And Consumer Protection also has some advice.

"And make sure you have your handbag close to you and a purse that zips up," said Norma Reyes, Department of Business & Consumer Protection

"Keeping it close to me and my purse and the purse zipped up and always looking at your stuff every time you stop and walking and being aware of your surroundings," said Christina Sahly, shopper.

Reyes said consumers should be smart when buying gifts.

"You have to keep your receipts," said Reyes.

"I always look at the receipts and compare it to the credit card bill to make sure what is there should be there," said Elise Sahly, shopper.

Reyes recommends that shoppers check store or gift card policies before purchasing and be diligent when shopping online

"The best way is to make sure you are buying from a known, reputable company that has been around for some time," said Reyes.

"I don't use any debit card as much because now days there is a lot of identity theft and sometimes they overcharge. And so I bring a decent amount of cash, not a lot of cash," said Shahara Quddus, shopper.

Stores in Chicago are required to post return and exchange policies in plain view and provide customers with a written receipt that includes the store name, date and purchase price of all items.

But the most important thing is to keep an eye on your surroundings.

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