It’s been said that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love to brave the Black Friday crowds in search of the best deal… and those who won’t go within a mile of the mall the day after Thanksgiving.
But if you’re among the former, some thoughtful planning and a few precautions can make your day more productive, safe, and most of all, fun.
Here are a few tips:
- Park near a light. Thieves are much less likely to target a car when there’s a bright light on it.
- Find a spot where you can see and be seen. Let’s say you park next to a large van or truck. It’s possible that vehicle could block you from another person’s vision, which could be dangerous.
- Hide your treasures in the trunk. If people don’t see shopping bags, they won’t see a reason to break in.
- Don’t shop solo. As with anything, there’s safety in numbers.
- Color coordinate. Wearing similar, bright colors will help you spot a friend or family member.
- Make a plan to meet up. Especially if you shop with children, designate a safe space to go if you’re separated.
- Keep purses on your body and wallets in your front pocket. Stepping away from your cart and your purse is a clear invitation to a purse snatcher, and a pickpocket is more likely to target a wallet in a back pocket.
- Shop with a single credit card. Keep only one credit card in your wallet, just in case it’s lost or stolen.
- If you must use an ATM, choose one that is well lit. Shield your PIN as you key it in, and don’t leave behind receipts that may contain personal information.
- Before you get in your car, look in it and under it. When you’re approaching your car, it pays to play it safe.
- Have your keys handy. If you’re rummaging through your purse or digging into a pocket while walking to your car, you’re officially a distracted shopper – which would make it easy for the wrong people to approach you.
- Drive defensively in the parking lot. With so many shoppers fighting to get good spots, holiday parking lots invite a lot of accidents.
And for those of you who prefer to shop from the quiet and peace of your own home, safety is still a concern.
- Shop on secure sites. Before you make any purchases, be sure the website has a closed padlock in the browser bar or a URL beginning with “https.”
- Use one credit card for all online purchases. This way, if a card is compromised, you have only one call to make to shut it down.
- Shop familiar brands and steer clear of “too good to be true” deals. Scammers are out in full force during the holiday shopping period.
Already finished shopping? One last tip for you: As you wrap gifts to set out and enjoy, consider how visible they are from windows and doors. That gorgeous display of generosity might invite holiday visitors who are not so welcome.