The 2016 holiday season is up on us and as we enter this time of holiday cheer focused on family and great food, we want to give you a quick reminder to stay safe while you are out shopping for the holidays. The National Crime Prevention Council has great tips to help you shop safely while getting those great holiday bargains on Black Friday. Here are some savvy safety tips to remember:
Shopping in Stores
- Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or asking a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
- 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.
- Don’t flash the cash. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multi-use disposable credit cards or money orders, including at online stores.
- Wait until asked by a cashier before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
Walking to and From Your Car
- Be informed about your surroundings. Use the free mobile app available from AlertID™ to receive alerts about registered sex offenders living and working in the vicinity of your shopping venue.
- 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.
- Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.
- Do not leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk, or if possible, take them directly home.
Shopping With Small Children
- If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.
- Select a central meeting place.
- Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
- Have them memorize or keep your cell phone number handy.
- Keep up-to-date photos and accurate descriptions of each child electronically with AlertID’s My Family Wallet™. Should they go missing, this information can be sent quickly to law enforcement when every moment counts.
- Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
- Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
- Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
- Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
- To avoid purchasing counterfeit products, carefully examine the products you want to buy for signs of missing information (manufacturing information, warranty, product codes, etc.), broken or missing safety seals, different or incomplete packaging, and subtle or obvious changes to a company logo.
To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.