OHIO COUNTY, W. Va. (WTRF) — As holiday shopping ramps up, so do the opportunities for crime.

Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard says the people who appear to be our fellow holiday shoppers could have other ideas in mind.

So don’t leave your credit card out for any length of time.

Your information could be stolen in an instant.

“Watch also people getting close to you with scanners,” said Sheriff Howard. “They can actually walk up and read your cards just by bumping into you.”

He advises using an RFID blocker.

“It’s actually a sleeve that fits over top of your card,” he said. “I carry them in mine. It slides over top of your debit card so if somebody does bump into you, they can’t read your information. Most of the time, the banks will give them to you.”

Purse snatchers are watching for a quick opportunity.

“So they’ll try and run by you and grab it real quick,” he said.

So keep your purse gripped firmly and close to your body.

In the parking lot, if you have the feeling you’re being watched, it’s probably not your imagination.

“They’ll sit in their cars and watch you carry packages out,” said Sheriff Howard. “They’ll actually walk the parking lots to see if there’s a bunch of packages that show in a car.”

So keep your packages stowed out of sight.

Sheriff Howard says don’t carry a lot of packages in your arms at once.

That makes you an easy target for what he calls a snatch-and-grab.

“They don’t care what it is,” he noted. “They’ll try to grab it and see if there’s anything of value in it. A lot of times we have thefts and they end up throwing it in  the dumpster somewhere because it’s not what they wanted.”

He says he has seen cases where someone lost every Christmas gift they had when they stopped briefly for gas or to run into a store for one last item.

He says thieves are fast.

So always lock your car, even if you’ll only be out of the car for a minute.