‘Tis the season to be jolly – but not without fair warning! With one of the busiest and well-loved holidays around the corner, unfortunately, it’s a time when criminals come out of the woodwork. Crowded malls, stressed shoppers, and occupied minds make some people easy targets.
Thieves love the holiday season because people can let their guard down and become vulnerable to otherwise avoidable theft. Whether it’s pick-pocketing, shoplifting, credit card fraud or other petty crimes, it’s important to know how to minimize risk and protect yourself.
With your safety in mind, we have compiled a list of the best holiday shopping safety tips for Christmas and beyond. Once you know them, feel free to share them with friends and family, too! Let’s make this holiday season the safest one yet.
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips Every Family Should Know About
The shopping season is in full swing, but buyer beware – there are crooks everywhere!
1) Try Not to Carry a Lot of Cash
Stealing someone’s debit or credit card takes extra work. That’s why cash is so attractive to thieves. If cash is all you’ve got, keep it in a wallet and in your front pocket.
2) Dress Down
You would think some people are having dinner at the royal family’s the way that they dress to go shopping. Dress comfortably and leave the jewelry at home. This will take a thief’s focus off of you.
3) Avoid Using ATMs
Try and choose one or the other – cards or cash. Using ATMs can put you in a vulnerable position, not to mention the risk of card skimmers.
4) Don’t Shop Alone (Especially at Night)
Not only is shopping with someone safer, but it makes the adventure much more enjoyable! If you must shop alone, try your best to do so during the day, or part in a well-lit area close to the mall entrance.
5) Walk with Your Head High
Nowadays, everyone’s heads are down staring at their phones. Whatever the reason for head being down, lift it up! This will help you have better awareness of your surroundings and keep you safer.
6) Keep Your Purse Close
If you’re carrying a purse, keep in front of you instead of behind. If you’re keeping it in a cart, make sure the purse is closest to you, zipped or buttoned closed, and attached to the cart itself. You can use a carabiner or the buckle straps found on most carts. Check out this warning from the Windham, NH Police Department:
7) If You’re Missing a Credit Card, Notify Your Bank Immediately
If your debit or credit card has gone missing, notify your bank before doing any more shopping. Given that it’s the holiday season, chances are it’s lost in your purse or winter jacket pocket. But, if it’s a worst-case scenario, you want to minimize the damage as much as possible (if not completely).
8) Put Purchases in the Trunk
Leaving your purchases visible in any of the passenger seats can increase your risk of theft. To be safe, put as much of your purchases in the trunk. You can cover them with a sheet or blanket, too! That way criminals are less likely to entertain the thought of breaking into your car.
9) Find Your Keys Before Walking to Your Car
While you’re still in the mall, find and hold your keys before you leave. Looking down and fumbling through your purse makes you an easy and distracted target for someone trying to commit a crime with minimal resistance.
10) Lock Your Car Doors the Moment You Get Inside
Once you’ve successfully finished your holiday shopping and made it back to your car safely, lock your car doors. Yes – even before you buckle up and put the keys in the ignition. This is the proverbial safety “cherry on top.”
Stay Safe This Holiday Season
Now that you know all the best holiday shopping safety tips, let’s end on a lighter note… Here’s where you can find all the best Christmas movies, 24/7.