We are just a week shy of the Christmas holiday. As with every year, the winter season has us doing our holiday shopping right after Thanksgiving and continuing in full swing until the end of the year. Since there are so many people out on the road and going to and from stores, there leaves a lot of vulnerability between you, your personal belongings, and your purchases – both those you carry with you and leave in your car. In order to effectively “shop defensively” this holiday season, please keep this list of reminders at hand, so you can shop safely and consciously:
Avoid Being a Target for Burglars
- Always shop with a friend. You are more likely to become a target if you are alone.
- Park your car in a well-lit area.
- Wear your purse or bag across your body. This way your hands will be free for your keys when you head to your car.
- Combine your purchases into one bag, if possible.
Be Alert at All Times
- Walk briskly to your car. Avoid talking or texting on your phone, or digging into your bag for your keys while walking.
- Have your keys ready in your hand while walking toward your vehicle.
In Your Car
- Keep your purchases out of sight in your parked car to prevent break-ins.
- Check your back seat for potential burglars before getting into your car.
On the Web
- Use credit, not debit. Credit cards offer much better protection against fraud than most debit cards.
- When shopping online, verify the website’s URL and shop only from known retailers. There are websites out there that are created to look like real storefronts, but are instead scams and spoofed websites that may steal your personal information.
- Be sure your anti-virus program is up-to-date. Shop at home and not on public Wi-Fi networks, such as at cafes, libraries or airports.
Remember to stay alert even during daytime shopping hours. Crimes aren’t restricted to night hours and can occur at any time. We hope that, with these tips, you’ll have a fun, productive and, most importantly, safe holiday season.