According to retail experts’ predictions, we’re in the midst of the holiday season’s busiest shopping days.

As you shop for those final gifts on your list it’s important to stay alert to protect yourself and your valuables.

With the big crowds inside stores, it only takes a quick moment for a bad guy to grab your wallet or purse.

“Always try to leave your wallet or purse close to your body,” said Colby Gallagher, a Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. “That means, if you have a wallet, don’t leave it hanging out of your back pocket or in a cart. And if you have a purse, if you do leave it in a cart, always make sure someone’s standing with it. Never walk away, even if it’s for an item across the aisle.”

When it comes to staying safe in store parking lots, it’s all in how you walk.

“You might want to text your friends or family to let the know about the purchase you just made…that you’re excited about…but try and hold off on using your cellphone until you’re safely in your car with the door with the doors locked,” Gallagher said. “Once you’re in the parking lot, if you see somebody walking towards you, make eye contact with them to let them know you see them and continue on your way.”

Shopping safety should start before your trip. Always tell someone where you’re heading and when you expect to return. They should also know what you’re wearing and driving.