Holiday shopping safety tips
Avoid accidents, theft and other holiday shopping pitfalls by reading this list and checking it twice.
When the busiest shopping weekend of the year arrives, if you'll be one of the millions of holiday shoppers, take some extra precautions with your personal information and purchases to protect yourself during the holiday. Be sure to check out these holiday savings tips too before you shop.
From fistfights to identity theft, shopping at Black Friday sales brings a few safety risks. Consider these holiday shopping safety tips:
- Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
- Don't argue or fight over an item.
- Don't take your money out until asked and don't flash a lot of cash.
- Use only one credit card. Data breaches have occurred in the past at major retailers and credit card companies. Should something similar occur, you can reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity by reviewing your bill immediately or periodically checking the online app.
- Ask for help moving and loading large items if needed.
- If shopping with children, select a central location to meet in case you are separated. Teach kids how to ask a security guard or employee for help if they're lost.
How can I be safer in the car?
With so many people out and about, you may encounter aggressive drivers on the road. Don't add to the problem: Remember to drive defensively and don't allow road rage to rise. Parking lots can be dangerous too, so be on guard:
- Be patient when looking for a parking space. Don't speed up to catch that empty (or soon-to-be empty) spot, and be cautious of other drivers who do.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- Don't leave anything valuable in your car.
- Lock your vehicle.
- Make a mental note of where you parked.
- Have your keys in hand when walking back to your vehicle.
- Look around and under your vehicle before approaching it.
- Store shopping bags out of plain sight, in your trunk if possible.
- Look for other cars or people, and back out slowly.
How to stay safe when shopping online
Opting to join Black Friday online or Cyber Monday from your couch? You still need to be on the lookout for holiday scams and identity theft.
- Stick to retailers you know and, preferably, have shopped with before.
- Research a business you haven't purchased from before by checking customer reviews or complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
- Never commit to a deal that seems too good to be true.
- Avoid using a debit card since dispute reimbursements may be less than credit cards.
- Refrain from using public Wi-Fi to make purchases, or use a VPN to avoid hackers intercepting your information.
- Check a webpage's security by looking for the lock icon in the URL field, and making sure the URL starts with "https", not just "http". The "s" means the site is safer and more secure.