The month before Christmas is a busy time for holiday shopping. This means many people are carrying more cash than normal on them and hiding expensive gifts in vehicles. For thieves, this is a perfect time to grab some high-dollar items. If you’re planning on shopping for bigger gifts, it’s important that you take some steps to protect yourself from becoming a target.

In order to keep a gift a secret from a spouse, some will take out cash so it doesn’t show up on any accounts. If it’s a bigger gift, this means people could be walking around with large amounts of money in their wallet or purse. Thieves know this is a possibility and robberies can increase around the holidays. To help protect yourself, plan to take the money out directly before you go to the store for the gift you plan to buy. Avoiding walking around for hours with a wad of cash is an easy way to ensure it goes to the right place.

If you’re using an ATM to take out that money, pay attention to your surroundings. You could be using your phone waiting for the machine to dispense the money while a robber is waiting to strike. When you drive up, look around to check that the area is clear and keep your doors locked.

Once you have the gift, put it in a secure area of your vehicle where it’s not visible, especially if you plan on leaving it in there for some time. If a new TV or video game console is out in your back seat, thieves won’t hesitate to break your window to take it. Your trunk is the most secure area of your car to store gifts, but remember to periodically check that they’re still there.

Holiday shopping can be stressful, but if you take the extra steps and use caution, your biggest concern will only be whether you got the perfect gift.