Authorities remind shoppers to be safe during the holiday season

Authorities are reminding people stay safe and smart while shopping this holiday season.

As you head to the nearest mall or computer keyboard, the Delaware County district attorney has a message for consumers at this time of year: "While for most people the holiday shopping season brings out the best in us in a giving spirit-- sometimes for criminals it can be a season of opportunity," Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland said.

Fact is, most holiday shoppers don't spend as much time or effort protecting themselves from thieves or scam artists as they should.

When shopping online, create new or stronger passwords, stay off public Wi-Fi or unsecured accounts and have your credit card company alert you to any large or suspicious purchases.

When the package arrives, don't become a victim of 'porch pirates'."Make plans to have it delivered to a neighbor who is going to be home or have it dropped off at a hidden location at your house.

The recent arrest of three people in an alleged scheme to defraud GoFundMe users is a reminder to think twice about charity requests that sound too good to be true.

Then, there's the basic goal of personal safety once you've left the store. Your best bet? Shop with a partner, keep your keys handy, park in a well-lit area and keep your eyes open.