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Holiday shopping safety tips for a better Christmas

Cyber Monday, the day where shoppers descend on retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target to get cut-rate prices by shopping from their computer, is in the books.

Early estimates by Adobe Analytics show that sales from Monday could reach $6.6 billion, a number that is up 16.5 percent from last year.

With the increased popularity of online shopping, local law enforcement officials warn residents of the potential that thieves could target packages left unattended at homes.

Potential thieves have been known to follow delivery trucks and pick up packages not long after drop off.

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart said leaving a package unattended is almost an invitation for potential thieves.

“It is best to make sure packages are shipped to a work place or where there will be someone around,” Lockhart said. “Another option is to pick up the packages from the shipping warehouse like UPS.”

Lockhart says shoppers should be careful in how they dispose of packing materials for gifts and purchases.

“Potential thieves watch the streets,” Lockhart said. “Be careful how you dispose of the packages. After the holidays people throw out boxes for televisions and advertise they just got a new 50-inch model. Take care to tear up the boxes and place them in a garbage can instead of placing them on the street curb.”

Lockhart also offered up tips for shopping in the holiday season while visiting malls and stores.

“If you go shopping, keep an eye on your surroundings,” Lockhart said. “Keep cars locked and purchases and valuables put away in the trunk and not visible.”

Lockhart said residents should look out for suspicious activity and take note of tag numbers and descriptions of questionable vehicles seen in your area.