This year many shoppers will be out early to find those big bargains on Black Friday or online for Cyber Monday, but the criminals will be out too. The National Crime Prevention Council has 10 great tips to help you shop safely while getting those great holiday bargains throughout the shopping season.
- Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
- Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
- Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
- Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
- Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
- Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
- Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.
- If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website at www.ncpc.org.