It’s official – with Thanksgiving over, the countdown till Christmas is on! It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays bring about happy times, memories, family, movies, and of course, a slew of ardent shoppers frantically looking for those perfect gifts. The hustle and bustle of our busy lives around the holidays inevitably makes us a bit more careless and thus vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes. You can never be too careful when it comes to your safety and the safety of your loved ones, so while looking for those last minute bargains, make sure to keep these safety tips in mind.
Shopping at Stores:
- Bring a friend or family member with you, especially at night. This way, they can help you with bags and act as another set of eyes.
- Leave the expensive jewelry and clothing at home.
- Avoid carrying a purse or wallet whenever possible. They are prime targets for thieves. Instead, carry your cash or credit card in your front pocket. If you must carry a purse with you, make sure it is in front of your body, visible at all times.
- Don’t carry a lot of cash with you.
- Save all receipts.
- Be alert at all times – notice strangers approaching and be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid driving alone as much as possible, especially when it’s dark. If driving at night, park in a well-lit parking lot.
- Keep car doors locked and windows shut when you’re inside and out of your car.
- Make a mental note of where you’re parked – and when possible, park as close to your destination as possible.
- Locate your keys and have them in hand before even leaving the building.
- If you leave packages or purses in the car, make sure they are not visible. Hide them under seats or lock them in the trunk.
- Don’t approach your vehicle if you see suspicious characters nearby.
- DON’T feel embarrassed to ask security to escort you to your vehicle if you feel unsafe.
- Before going anywhere with children, teach them how to ask for help from a clerk or security guard if separated.
- Set a meeting spot just in case someone gets lost.
- Do not allow your children to go to the car, restroom, or other store alone.
It’s 2014 – many people do their holiday shopping online these days. With all the cyber attacks that have been reported, it’s important to protect yourself online as well in person. If you plan on shopping online, make sure to keep these things in mind:
- Update security software on your computer to have anti-virus and anti-spyware programs installed.
- Make sure all passwords are different and not easily discovered.
- Do NOT respond if asked to “verify” credit card information from an unreliable source.
- Use secure websites and avoid tricks or “bargains” from websites that do not look legitimate.
- Do a significant amount of research when buying from a company you are not familiar with or have not used before.