Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The Whispers - Happy Holidays to You

Download the song or buy The Whispers Christmas CD - Happy Holidays to You

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Holiday shopping has begun and people are watching their pockets very closely considering the current economic state in America. More than ever shoppers are trying to save and cut cost while still keeping the spirit of gift-giving this year. One way to save is through lost and theft prevention. Thieves are out in force this holiday season and everyone is a target so here are some safety tips for everyone including seniors and families with kids:

Lock Up

Lock your vehicle, close the windows and lock purchases in the trunk. Never leave any items visible in the vehicle. Consider a car alarm. Thieves often will break into your vehicle if they see any valuables including clothes like jackets, CDs or loose change. Even an empty bag can look like is contains something of value so keep the interior clean and free of clutter as well.

Avoid just sitting in your vehicle. However, if you find you're sitting or waiting in your vehicle and somebody suspicious approaches then drive away. Seek help if necessary.

People often return to where they think they've parked only to find many cars that look the same including make, model and color. So, take note of where you park. Most parking lots have markings on stalls, isles and/or posted signs.

Be Alert

Pickpockets' often favor crowded places like malls, stores, elevators, buses and trains. Some work in pairs distracting you while the other picks your pocket or purse. In a standard scheme called the "sandwich," the "stall" (One of two thieves) suddenly stops in front of the "mark" (that's you) so that the mark bumps into him or her. The "pick" (the second thief) pretends to accidentally bump into the mark from behind and apologizes while removing the mark's wallet. It happens very fast and it looks innocent to the point that you don't even know you've been robbed until it's too late. The safest way to protect your money is a money belt.

Ladies - Always keep your purse closed and close it immediately after concluding your transaction. Always hold your purse under your arm and cover it with your hand.

Men - Keep your wallet in your front pocket because it is harder for thieves to enter your pocket without you knowing.

Don't Bring Electronics

Keep your must-have hi-tech electronics like cameras, music players and cell phones in your pocket or closed purse and not in your hand, not on your hip or hanging around you neck. Thieves can easy lift your electronic device right off your waist or neck and sometimes right out of your hand. This is also known as the "snatch and run" scheme. Again, thieves working in pairs will have one snatch your device while another purposely trips you or distracts you, allowing the thief to get away.

Don't Shop Alone

Shop with family or friends if possible. There is safety in numbers; however, note that some malls have code of conduct rules prohibiting groups of four (4) or more for crowd control purposes. Most security personnel will not bother your group if you are shopping as appose to just hanging out in the mall like some teenagers do today.

Protect Funds

When using cash, credit cards and ATM machines, keep the following in mind:

  • Use caution when using ATM machines. Always consider the time of day and location when accessing an ATM.
  • Never exit the ATM with cash in your hand but instead take the extra seconds to safely put your money away.
  • Don't forget your ATM card when leaving the Automated Teller Machine.
  • Keep your bills organized and count your change after every purchase because it is easy to be short-changed during the busy holiday rush.
  • Remember to retrieve your id, debit or credit card after making a purchase.
  • Immediately put your receipts away but not in the bags with your purchased items so if lost or stolen you'll have proof of purchase upon recovery.

Plan Purchases

Consider purchasing your gifts online to avoid the risk of lost or theft. When shopping in public, carry your most expensive purchases closest to your body. Carrying too many packages at one time make you an easy target. Consider having packages delivered to your home when possible or plan your purchases so that when you reach a number too big or expensive to carry, take them home, then return to continue shopping at another time. If you must lock your purchases in the trunk of your vehicle, make sure no one is watching you and move the vehicle to a new parking stall if you think someone was watching you.

Take a Break

If your shopping plans require a break to rest or include eating then remember the following:

  • If you have been shopping for many hours, take a food and/or drink break and rest your feet too.
  • Most malls have food courts and it's best to eat where you shop to avoid driving packages from place to place.
  • Try to make your big purchase(s) after your break.
  • Seating inside food court areas have limited seating times when used to eat. Most malls have seats scattered around outside of the food court for just taking a break.
  • Double check that you have all your packages when leaving a rest area.
  • When shopping with kids, never leave a child unattended.
  • When shopping with seniors, remember their needs including medicines, fluids, restroom and rest breaks as well as planning for meals especially if they require special dietary considerations.
  • Never leave any child or senior requiring assistance in an unattended vehicle.

Where's My Car?

Return Home Safely

Be aware of your surroundings while shopping. Keep the following in mind when returning to your vehicle after you have completed your shopping:

  • If you have too many packages to carry ask the store personnel or security for assistance.
  • Stop for a moment and remember where you parked so you don't have to wander around the parking lot.
  • Have your keys out and be ready to unlock your vehicle.
  • If strangers are near your vehicle, return to the store or security for assistance or set off your panic vehicle alarm if you have that option on your alarm system.
  • Look inside the vehicle before entering it to be sure no one is hiding in the front or back seats.

Enhance your shopping experience through awareness of your surroundings and safety to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. These safety tips will help keep you from being a victim this holiday season and save you money too. Because, money saved is money earned and that includes lost and theft prevention.

Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire - Holiday Inn DVD

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Holiday Spending

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