Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

While you’re busy looking for the best deals during your last-minute holiday shopping, WeatherBug urges you to keep safety at the forefront of your spending adventure. With the surge of shopping the holiday season brings, many find themselves victimized by clever criminals looking for a free meal — BEWARE!

Credit: HidingInABunker via Flickr

Credit: HidingInABunker via Flickr

Here are safety tips from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) for in-store and online shopping to help stay safer:

In-store Shopping

Credit: Kimco Realty via Flickr

Credit: Kimco Realty via Flickr

  • Don’t buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
  • Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
  • Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multi-use disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
  • Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
  • Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.

Walking To and From Your Car

Credit: Kimco Realty via Flickr

Credit: Kimco Realty via Flickr

  • Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  • Don’t leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

Shopping with Children

Credit: chrisada via Flickr

Credit: chrisada via Flickr

  • Make a plan in case you are separated from each other and select a central meeting place.
  • Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.

Online Shopping

Credit: StormKatt via Flickr

Credit: StormKatt via Flickr

  • Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
  • Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
  • Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

Use these tips to out-smart the bad guys and keep you (and your wallet) safer this holiday season!

 

Happy Holidays! Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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