Safe Holiday Shopping Tips

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The holiday season is such a wonderful time of year; for the most part people are in good spirits, more generous, and kind to one-another. Unfortunately, there are people who prey on that kindness and want to take advantage of the generosity that comes with the holiday season.

This is the time of year when thieves and scammers are in full force and use various methods to distract you with intentions of taking your money and belongings. With tomorrow being Black Friday and the kick-off to the holiday shopping season here are some tips for you to keep in mind while you're out and about this holiday season.

  • There is safety in numbers. Thieves are less likely to target a group of shoppers so grab your girlfriend or family to go with you. 
  • Park your vehicle in well-lighted areas. If you are about the door busters then chances are it's dark when you arrive at the store so park your vehicle underneath a light post. Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from the general vision of others. Remember to lock your doors while waiting for a store to open. Being situationally aware comes into play here; be sure to utilize the tips I shared to help keep you safe.
  • Don’t leave items visible in your vehicle. Nothing gets a thief going like bags that are clearly visible. Conceal your merchandise at all times. Put all of your items in the trunk or underneath the seats where they are out of sight. If possible, take your bags directly home instead of leaving them in the car.
  • Be careful of counterfeit products. It seems that each year there is a new must-have item that is on everyone's list. Often times these replica products seem so ideal because they look exactly like the original but for a much more discounted price. Stay clear of that deal because  often times these counterfeit products are made by groups that support illegal activity. Alternatively, you may end up buying a counterfeit without knowing it. To avoid this, make yourself familiar with where you buy your products and only shop with companies and brands you know and trust. Check the product for signs of missing information such as manufacturing codes, product codes, different packaging, or variations in the logo.
  • If you're shopping online, make sure the website is secure by looking for the padlock icon at the bottom of the screen or more easily the URL address should begin with "https"; the "s" indicating the site is secure.
  • Be discreet when paying for your purchases in store. Don't whip out a wad of cash to count through for everyone to see. Wait for the cashier to ask you to swipe your credit card before having it out in hand. The crowded stores are a great opportunity for thieves to shoulder surf in order to get your information.
  • If you have to shop with children, make a plan in case you end up getting separated from each other. Pick a central meeting place and teach them to ask retail personnel for help if they need it.

Lastly, one of the easiest and safest things you can do is be aware of your surroundings. Situational awareness is your first line of defense so that you can avoid any potential threat. With shopping malls and retail outlets being jammed packed with people being somewhat ruthless to score their major deal it's easy to fall victim to scammers/strangers trying to take advantage of you.  

 

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