YONKERS, N.Y. – Beware of the holiday Grinch.
That’s the warning Yonkers police and city officials have issued as the season of holiday shopping begins.
“With the holiday season upon us, most people are preoccupied with the details of holiday planning and shopping,” Mayor Mike Spano said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the safety precautions we normally take can be forgotten as the excitement of the season causes us to let our guard down.”
Police say residents need to be especially alert for potential scams, both in the stores and on the Internet, during the shopping season.
Typical online scams may include products or gift cards being sold online where the price is significantly lower than any sales price in retail outlets.
Gift card offers claiming to be from a major retailer may also be fake and actually meant to gain access to social media and personal information.
Another common scam includes phishing e-mails, text messages, or phone calls that look or sound like they are coming from a well-known retailer but ask you to verify a credit card number or to update personal account information, police said.
Still, it’s not just online shoppers who need to be aware.
Police said shoppers visiting malls or restaurants should avoid leaving valuables in the car and whenever possible, place items out of sight and in the trunk.
Residents should also be wary of telephone and email solicitations asking for personal information about your accounts, passwords or social security number. And avoid illegal vendors selling goods on the street, police say, because “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
In an effort to help protect shoppers, Yonkers police will send their Mobile Command Center to shopping areas such as Ridge Hill, South Broadway, Getty Square, Cross County Center and Central Park Avenue.
For a full list of warnings and precautions against potential scams, visit the city's website.