Once Black Friday arrives, the holiday shopping season becomes intense. The stores are packed with shoppers and where there are people with money to spend there are dishonest characters who want to steal it away. Protect yourself from becoming a victim by following these safety tips.
Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season
Don’t Flash Your Cash
By pulling a wad of cash from your purse or pocket, you may catch the attention of a thief looking for a target. Carry as little cash as possible when going to crowded shopping centers. Rely on your debit or credit cards or your checking account. If you must carry cash, keep it in a front pocket so if a pickpocket gets your billfold you’ll still have your cash.
It’s easy to get caught up in the array of merchandise and holiday décor, but keep part of your mind focused on what’s happening around you. Pay attention to your fellow shoppers and keep your purse close to your side. Better yet, don’t even carry a purse if you can avoid it. Walk with an air of confidence and stay close to a companion or two. Thieves always prefer a lone target.
Try to park in a well lit area at the stores. Lock your doors when you get in or out of the vehicle. Get your keys in your hand before you go back to the parking lot. If you’re shopping alone after dark, don’t hesitate to ask for a store employee or security guard to walk you to your car. Also, if you carry packages to the car but plan on reentering the mall, place your purchases in the trunk, then move the car to a different location. This gives anyone watching the impression that you are leaving and your bags will not be left unattended. One last point – when you get in the car to leave, lock your doors and pull away as quickly as possible. You don’t want to become a sitting target while you’re combing your hair or adjusting the radio.
Be Leery of Approaching Strangers
If anyone you don’t know approaches you, don’t let your guard down. This is the time of year when con artists may try to draw your attention while they or a partner take your belongings or money.
Use Caution When Shopping Online
Shopping via the internet can be a great timesaver and you can find some terrific deals. Remember, though, that not all online retailers are honest. Try to stick with retailers you’re familiar with and don’t hesitate to check the reviews of those that you aren’t. Set up a separate email address for these transactions so your regular mailbox is not bombarded with follow-up offers. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and running and purchase only from secure sites.
Here’s wishing you a safe and happy holiday shopping season this year.