THE 2018 Festive Season has arrived and, at this time of the year, finance gurus will be consistently and continuously issuing stern warnings to consumers to cut back on their cravings to spend their hard-earned money, in line with the tough economic climate we are facing. They will also allude to the perils of falling into such temptations.According to SAPS: “As these finance gurus attempt to save us from sinking further into debt, it is also the responsibility of the South African Police Service to further accentuate their warning to South Africans against the dangers of this period as we enter the festive season. The SAPS’s top management seeks to remind us that, while the festive season exudes joy and excitement, this period also breeds sophisticated criminals armed with the latest scams and technology to extort our hard-earned money. Mindful of this, as the police, we endeavour to provide you with safety tips we have compiled to ensure that citizens are ahead of criminals. “We have assembled the following holiday safety tips, which are aimed at contributing to the safety and security of people during the holiday season.”DRIVING- Avoid driving alone or at night.- Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or anti-theft device.- Park as close as you can to your destination, remember where you parked, and locate your keys before going to your car.- Never leave your car unoccupied with the engine running or with children inside it.- Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM)- If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, or well-lit location. Withdraw only the amount of cash that you need.- Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.- Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM.SHOPPING- Shop during daylight hours if it is possible. If you must shop at night, ensure that a friend or family member accompanies you and park in a well-lit area.- Avoid wearing expensive jewellery.- Do not carry a purse or wallet in your hand, if possible.- Always carry your driver’s licence or identification card along with the necessary cash, cheques, and/or a credit card at all times.- Even though you are in a rush and thinking about a thousand things, be aware of your surroundings.- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash — pay for purchases with a cheque or credit card if possible.- Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused and keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.CHILDREN- If it is at all possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.- Teach children to stay close to you at all times while you are shopping and, if you get separated, teach them to go to a shop clerk and ask for help. Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.- Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.- Teach children their full name, address, and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. - Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.WHEN YOU ARE AT HOME- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes. - When you leave it for an extended time, have a neighbour or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail. WHEN YOU HOST A PARTY- Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.- Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests or arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.WHEN YOU ATTEND A PARTY- Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages. - Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.KNOW YOUR LIMIT, NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE.“Remember, as you have been industrious during the year and have worked hard for your money, you must ensure that during this year’s holiday season, you do not easily give way to criminals by not adhering to and becoming careless and vulnerable to holiday crime. “Despite the tips we have provided above, we can never be too careful or too prepared, but by observing these tips, we may avoid becoming victims. Have a happy holiday season,” added SAPS. — Supplied.