To keep your holidays the most wonderful time of the year, try some safe shopping tips that really work. By following a few simple guidelines, shoppers can avoid losing their money, their identity or even their lives this year.
- Shop during daylight hours. Try to avoid shopping later at night, when it’s dark. If you must go out at night, choose shopping centers with well-lit parking lots or garages, and keep your keys out while you walk.
- Don’t open car doors from far away. The remote that activates your car locks might seem like a useful tool — especially when you have lots of packages or bags — but if you open your doors too soon before you get to the car, you’re allowing potential predators to jump into your car.
- Report “lurkers.” One of the most useful safe shopping tips comes from your gut: if it looks “wrong,” or if you feel uncomfortable, let a security guard or law enforcement officer know. Runaway teenagers may consider turning to theft if they’re hungry or cold during the holiday season, so report anyone who makes you feel unsafe, regardless of their age.
- Avoid carrying a purse/wallet in your back pocket. Keep your driver’s license, cash and credit cards in your front pocket, for easy access and easy reach. It’s more difficult for someone to pick your front pocket, and purses and pocketbooks can attract thieves. Identity theft protection tips such as this may help you keep more than just your belongings safe, too.
Identity Theft Protection Tips that Work
For people who shop both in stores and online, we offer identity theft protection tips to keep your holidays from turning into your nightmares. Being alert may help you avoid losing your identity to hackers or thieves this year.
- Don’t save your information online. It’s so much simpler to save your banking information on the sites you use often — but it makes it much easier for internet predators to steal that information. Take the few extra moments to fill in your credit card information every time you shop — and only use sites designated as “safe” by your online protection services.
- Don’t carry unnecessary information with you. One of the best identity theft protection tips law enforcement or investigators can offer involves keeping your identification papers at home, where they belong. Carry only what you need, such as a driver’s license, and leave what you don’t, such as passports.
- Get credit cards with your picture on them. If your bank card has your picture on it, it’ll be harder to use it in person for a thief who looks nothing like you. There are pro’s and con’s to this idea, so discuss with your credit card company as to what is the best option is for you.
- Changes your passwords. Our safe shopping tips for online shoppers involve changing passwords and security questions and answers. If you use the same passwords for all of your social media and online shopping accounts, create new passwords for each site.
Prevent Kidnapping and Runaway Teenagers this Year
Tensions run high at the holidays. People are distracted, and sometimes we lose sight of what’s important. But by talking to your teens and children, you can keep your loved ones safe and prevent kidnapping attempts. As soon as possible, do the following:
- Leave kids at home with a trusted babysitter during shopping trips, which can help you prevent kidnapping from a crowded place.
- Don’t allow children to shop in the store without you.
- Teach your children their full name and address, as well as their phone number, in case they become separated.
- Teach children to wait for you at a register in the store. Store clerks and security officers can page you over the intercom.
- Talk to your kids. Runaway teenagers are often under a lot of pressure, from themselves or someone else. Encourage them to discuss their problems with you in a stress-free environment, and really listen to their concerns.