Holiday Shopping Safety
Holiday shopping is part of the excitement and pleasure of the holiday season. Don’t let criminals steal the joy of this festive season tradition. Here are some tips to ensure a happy and safe shopping experience:
• Be alert and aware! It’s easy to be distracted by the crowds, selecting the right gift or being preoccupied with holiday activities. Maintain confident body language so that criminals pass you over for a “softer” target.
• Keep shopping bags, valuables, purses and wallets close to you. Keep purses or bags closed. The more expensive an item, the closer to your body it should be. Don’t leave your handbag in the shopping trolley while you shop.
• Limit the number of shopping bags you are carrying, so that you can keep track of everything. Combine your purchases into one or two large shopping bags.
• Supervise children at all times. If you feel you will be distracted from supervising them while shopping, arrange for a babysitter.
• Recognise that there is safety in numbers. Shop with friends and relatives instead of going alone. Each of you can look out for each other.
• Place any valuables in the boot of your car before you go shopping. Criminals are in the parking lots watching what you put in your car.
• Do not be distracted when walking to your vehicle (talking on phone, texting, etc.) and watch out for loiterers near your vehicle. Have an employee walk you to your car if you feel uncomfortable.
• Park in a well-lit, well-trafficked area of the parking lot at stores and malls. Avoid secluded and
dark areas, as confrontations won’t be seen and screams for help won’t be heard. Be aware of remote jamming, double check that your car is locked before walking off.
• Have your keys in your free hand well before approaching the car. It will save time in getting into the car, and the keys can be used as an improvised weapon if necessary. Lock the door immediately after getting in.
• Watch out for friendly strangers. They may ask a question or offer to assist you with your bags to distract you or put you in a compromising situation.
• When shopping online, make sure you are dealing with a reputable online store. On checkout, before entering your payment information, make sure the page is encrypted and secure. Keep your anti-virus, anti-phishing software up to date.
• After opening gifts, don’t advertise to criminals of your big-ticket item with your trash. Tear down and cut up product boxes into small pieces to fit into garbage and recycling bins.