10 safety tips every shopper should know

By Wesley Harris

‘Tis the season to be jolly – but not without fair warning! With one of the busiest and well-loved holidays approaching, it’s a time when criminals come out of the woodwork. Crowds, stressed shoppers, and occupied minds make people easy targets.

Thieves love the holiday season because people can let their guard down and become vulnerable to otherwise avoidable theft. 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. Share them with friends and family. Let’s make this holiday season the safest one yet. 

1) Don’t Carry a Lot of Cash

Stealing someone’s debit or credit card takes work. That’s why cash is so attractive to thieves. keep it in a wallet and in your front pocket. Don’t flash your cash around.

2) Dress Down

Dress comfortably and leave the jewelry at home. This takes a thief’s focus off you.

3) Avoid Using ATMs

Using ATMs in isolated locations can put you in a vulnerable position. Thieves may watch for someone withdrawing large amounts of cash.

4) Don’t Shop Alone 

Not only is shopping with someone safer, but it makes the adventure more enjoyable! If you must shop alone, do so during the day, or part in a well-lighted area close to the store entrance.

5) Walk with Your Head High

Nowadays, everyone’s heads are down staring at their phones. Keep your head up and be aware of who and what is around you. Awareness of your surroundings keeps 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.

7) If You’re Missing a Credit Card, Notify Your Bank Immediately

If your debit or credit card has gone missing, notify your bank immediately. It may be lost in a pocket or your car, but you want to minimize the damage as much as possible if it’s been lost or stolen.

8) Place Purchases in the Trunk

Leaving your purchases visible in your vehicle increases your risk of theft. Place packages in the trunk or cover them with a blanket. That way criminals are less likely to consider breaking into your car. 

9) Find Your Keys Before Walking to Your Car

While you’re still in the store, find and hold your keys before you leave. Looking down and fumbling through your purse in the parking lot makes you an easy and distracted target. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. 

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. Even before you buckle up and put the keys in the ignition. 

With so many people out and about, you may encounter aggressive drivers on the road or even in the parking lot. Don’t add to the problem: drive defensively and don’t allow road rage to rise.

No matter where you are, you can call 911 if you suspect a crime or see suspicious activity.

Stay safe this holiday season!

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