With Thanksgiving taking place next week, holiday shopping season is officially starting. Whether you are shopping at stores in-person or doing most of your shopping online, take steps to keep your information and merchandise secure. Here are some helpful tips.
Store Shopping Tips
Parking and Travel Safety
Crime rates generally rise during the holiday season given the increased opportunity for thieves. If you’re shopping in stores, be aware of your surroundings, particularly as you’re walking to your car. Bags from expensive stores can be a target for snatch and grab crimes. If shopping at night, be sure to park in a well lit area. Better yet, try to shop during daylight hours!
Mid-shopping Gift Storage
Another target for thieves are gifts being left in cars. On big shopping trips, people tend to leave gifts in the trunk or back seat mid-way during the shopping trip or when traveling from store-to-store. Make sure any items stored in your car are not visible from the windows. For high ticket items, play it safe and avoid leaving those items unattended.
Online Shopping Tips
We all prefer to avoid the lines around this time of year. Shopping online can be very convenient, but with that convenience comes some added risk. First and foremost, stick to reputable retailers. There are an abundance of not-so-credible websites out there operated outside of the country. You may end up not receiving your orders, getting them late, or receiving products that don’t quite match the product descriptions. Although the low prices on these websites are extremely appealing, it is often not worth the risk.
Give some thought to where your items are being shipped. Every year, there is news of packages being stolen from people’s doorsteps. For expensive items, you may want to make other arrangements to avoid this risk. For example, perhaps your packages can be delivered to your workplace, or to a friend/neighbor who is home during the day. Another option with some shipping companies is to have them hold your package for pickup at their distribution center (you’ll need the tracking number to arrange this ahead of time).
More on Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
Don’t let being victim to a crime ruin your holiday experience. Be aware and cautious as you shop, whether online or in-person at local stores. Don’t make it easy for your merchandise to be stolen from your car or right out of your hands. When an online deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Trying to get a cheap deal can sometimes get you cheated, so stick with reputable companies with good return policies. Be smart and shop safe this holiday season!