With the holiday shopping season ready to officially start this Friday, law enforcement agencies are warning people to shop safely to avoid becoming a robbery victim.
"There's people out there who want to take advantage of those people who are trying to have a good time," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Miguel Meza.
Meza says it's important for shoppers to be aware of the people around them, especially when they've already made some purchases and are heading into the shopping center parking lot.
Meza says if you see someone suspicious, make it obvious to them that you see them.
"If someone knows that you're watching, if someone knows that you saw them, chances are that person is going to move on to someone else who is not watching. So being vigilant is very important," Meza said.
He also recommends hiding your purchases if you bring them back to your car and decide to shop somewhere else.
"Put them in the trunk where they're not visible. Don't leave them out in the back seat or the front seat of vehicles. Don't let the criminals see that the bags are there for them to take," he said.
Authorities also suggest avoiding dressing too flashy when you hit the malls. Meza says criminals are looking for victims who are sporting expensive purses, watches or jewelry.
"Don't have those high-priced items on your person when you're shopping, especially if you're shopping in an area where you're by yourself or there is low lighting, because that will make you a higher target."
Authorities also say you should be aware of follow-home robberies. They say there are groups that will see people coming out of high-end stores, follow them home and then rob them.
If you feel like someone is following you, call 911 or pull into the closest police station parking lot.