The holidays at this time of year always bring out fond childhood memories and the desire to create new ones for our own family. We all have a list a mile long of things to do, places to go, holiday shopping to finish. But in that hustle and bustle, it’s not uncommon for us to become a little bit careless – or preoccupied (and we’re not even going to talk about that texting-and-walking thing!). And that can make us vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. Keeping in mind that we can never be too careful, too prepared, or too aware, we’d like to share these holiday shopping safety tips to remind you how you can get through the season happy – and most of all, safe.
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
• Try to shop during daylight hours. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
• In parking lots – even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings. When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
• Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car, and set your alarm or use an anti-theft device if you have one.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists will try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings – or even worse.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash – and carry the cash you do have in your front pocket.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located in a well-lit location – and withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Protect your PIN number, and don’t throw away your receipt at the ATM location.
• Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in the event they are separated from you. And never allow them to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
• Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
• Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
• Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. (Not on your cell phone!)
Pay a little extra attention to what is going on around you, and chances are criminals will mark you off their “to-do list.” (They do tend to focus on those who are distracted or unaware of their immediate surroundings.) Stay aware and stay safe this season – because there’s no time for anything else – you have too much to celebrate!