Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for those looking for quick and easy ways to take high priced items from vulnerable shoppers. People are often rushing to buy gifts, decorating their homes, visiting friends or traveling. The malls and grocery stores alike are flooded with shoppers, packing parking lots, grabbing taxis, and waiting in lines at ATM machines.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING = LATE NIGHTS
Major department stores extend their holiday hours to help you get your shopping done at your convenience. Once these stores begin to close, dazed shoppers emerge into the parking lots to load up their presents. Just as quickly as the parking lots fill up, they empty out as the stores begin to close. The straggling shoppers are searching through their shopping bags to find their keys, looking for their cars, and are left totally vulnerable to thieves or muggers. Don’t let your sense of caution fall to the wayside this holiday season. Be alert and be aware of your surroundings.
WHY THIEVES LOVE THE HOLIDAYS
Sure, everyone loves eggnog and spiced cider around the holidays, but thieves love it for a whole different reason: the hustle and bustle. They can be inconspicuous in crowded stores filled with rushed and distracted people. They’re able to pickpocket and shoplift easily without being noticed. By the time their victims realize they’ve been robbed, they’ll have no idea who did it.
THE HOLIDAYS ARE OPPORTUNISTIC FOR THIEVES
Everyone has seen Home Alone, right? The thieves check to see which homes will be vacant over the holidays, are able to scope out the interiors of the homes, and devise a plan to break and steal personal valuables.
Loss Prevention in stores are working around the clock, and are typically distracted by amateur thieves attempting to steal from the electronics department or waiting for parents of teens to arrive. The more experienced thieves are attempting to break into cars, stalk and rob or scam shoppers who are alone.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY SAFE AND PROTECT YOUR HOME AND VALUABLES DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Take these precautions this holiday season to avoid being the next victim of a holiday shopping crime:
- Try and shop during the day. If you must shop at night, bring someone along with you.
- Dress casually and comfortably
- Leave the expensive jewelry at home
- If possible, avoid carrying a purse or wallet
- Make sure you always carry your driver’s license or ID, along with necessary cash, checks, and/or a credit card you expect to use
- Stay self aware of when you feel rushed, distracted, and stressed out. Stay alert of your surroundings
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- If possible, pay for purchases with a check or credit card
- Keep your cash in your front pocket
- If you discover you’re missing a credit card, notify the credit card company as soon as possible. Don’t assume you misplaced it and will find it later. Wells Fargo now makes it super easy to turn your card on and off through their mobile app. Other banks are beginning to follow suit
- Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They’re the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, terminals, bus stops, on public transportation, and so on
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It’s important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion if you’re unexpectedly approached
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reasons. At this time of year, con artists may try different ways of distracting you, including working in teams, with the intention of taking your money or belongings
- Make sure your homeowners insurance policy is up to date and you’ve got enough coverage in the event something gets lost or stolen
Stay safe this holiday season! If you’ve got any questions about what is and isn’t covered in the event of robbery, feel free to give me a call! I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your policy.