Thanksgiving will soon be here and with the gathering of family, friends and feasts comes Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. For serious bargain hunters, it can be a shopping extravaganza for electronics, the hottest new holiday toy or just about anything. And if that isn’t enough, then comes Cyber Monday, the day for online shopping savings.
Unfortunately, this time of year also brings out thieves who take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. So, whether you’re planning to brave the crowds at the mall or shop on your computer, take these precautions to guard against theft and scams.
Black Friday Shopping
- Deter pickpockets – Carry a purse that closes securely and keep it in front of you. Keep wallets in your front pocket instead of your back pocket.
- Use a credit card rather than cash – Once cash is stolen, it’s gone.
- Take just one credit card with you – If stolen, you’ll only have one credit card to cancel.
- Save receipts – Verify your purchases against your credit card statement.
- Avoid parking in secluded areas – Don’t buy more than you can carry. Have keys in hand when walking to your car.
- Keep packages hidden – Don’t leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in your trunk prior to driving to another location so no one sees you putting them in the trunk at the new destination.
Cyber Monday Shopping
- Use secure websites – Look for an “S” in the URL (“https”), which means it’s a secure website.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card – Credit card charges can be disputed if you are a victim of fraud or identity theft.
- Don’t respond to suspicious emails – Avoid sharing personal information with unknown parties.
In addition to reviewing these tips, remember there’s safety in numbers. So if you’re headed to the mall, bring a friend along! For more Black Friday safety tips, click here. For more on protecting yourself from identity theft, click here.