When the busiest shopping weekend of the year arrives, if you'll be one of the millions of holiday shoppers, take some extra precautions to protect yourself, your purchases, and your personal information.
How can I protect myself in the store?
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 to do so.
- Use only one credit card. Remember the 2019 Capital One data breach? Should something similar occur, you can reduce the risk of having multiple cards compromised.
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity.
- 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.
- 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 can I protect myself on the internet?
Opting to join Black Friday or Cyber Monday from your couch? You still need to be on the lookout.
- 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.
- 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.