For at least 30 years there have been reports of violence occurring between shoppers on Black Friday. Despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, injuries are common among the crowds; usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in stampedes as a popular business opens it’s doors to the awaiting crowds of people. The Holiday Season, Black Friday in particular, is a time when thieves and cons are easily able to strike due to mass crowds and heavy distractions.
Here are 3 key Holiday Shopping items to consider with useful tips included
1. Shopping with Children:
Keep children close to you by holding hands or having them hold on to your clothing in crowded situations.
Teach children to know their full name, address and your cell phone number.
Teach children that it is only safe to seek help from people in security or police uniforms or behind the counter of a store.
Carry up-to-date information about your children on your person; photo, fingerprints, and any forms of ID to share with security to aid in identifying your child if he or she is lost in the crowd.
DO NOT allow your child to go to a restroom or any other area alone.
2. Smart, Safe Shopping:
If you plan to camp out in dark hours prior to a store opening, do not do it alone – have someone with you and be sure your cell phone is fully charged in case you need to contact police for assistance.
Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels while in crowded situations.
When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings. Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
Dress casual and comfortable without straps or scarves hanging from your attire, avoid wearing expensive jewelry and keep long hair tied in an up-style.
If possible, carry your cash and credit cards on your person instead of carrying a purse or wallet. Be sure to carry your ID as well and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Purses and Wallets are prime targets for thieves in crowded situations.
Keep a record of all your credit card numbers (recommended: photograph the front and back of each) and notify your credit card issuer immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
Avoid carrying more packages than you can easily handle even if you have to make multiple trips to your vehicle to carefully store these packages in your trunk that is better than the distraction of handling multiple packages in a crowd.
Beware of any strangers approaching you. Con-artists thrive during the holiday season working together with methods of distracting you while taking your money or belongings.
If you must use an ATM machine choose one indoors and preferably with a security guard nearby and be sure to shield your PIN number when entering it. Also, keep your ATM receipt on your person instead of disposing of it publicly.
3. Shopping online:
Secure your personal computers by updating your security software.
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.
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.
To avoid purchasing counterfeit products, carefully examine the products you want to buy for signs of missing information (manufacturing information, warranty, product codes, etc.), broken or missing safety seals, different or incomplete packaging, and changes to a company logo.
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