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      State police warn holiday shoppers of thieves

      Many of us will hit the stores Thursday and Friday for Black Friday deals. The State Law Enforcement Division wants to remind you thieves are also out.

      They say they prey on both cashiers distracted by long lines and costumers juggling purchases.

      SLED says shoppers should check their change before walking away from a register and don't let your credit card out of your sight.

      It reminds cashiers to check credit card signatures with photo ID's and watermark large bills.

      "In 2003, the U.S. Secret Service and SLED's Computer Crime Center combined resources to combat computer based threats to South Carolina financial institutions. This partnership has been the bedrock of our success," said Reggie Lloyd Director of SLED. With the advent of the Internet, a new cyber criminal was created that's targeting our financial payment systems.

      SLED says to help avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud, the best advice is to never provide personal information over the phone or the Internet to anyone that contacts you via phishing scams. No credit card company or bank will ever contact you to verify your information.

      The following resources contain valuable information on how to detect counterfeit notes by identifying the security features that are embedded within U.S. currency: Know Your Money, and (Bureau of Engraving and Printing's website). In addition, the following website contains information on how to protect your identity as well as how to obtain victim assistance:

      If you suspect you have been a victim of financial fraud, please contact your local police and/or the U.S. Secret Service Columbia Field Office at (803) 772- 4015.