Whether shopping online or at stores, follow these guidelines for safety.
The holiday shopping season is upon us. With the sun setting earlier, more people out and about, and grinches trying to steal Christmas, shopping during the holidays can be a little more dangerous.
Whether you’re making a run to stores in town or doing all your shopping online, there are ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your identity.
- Avoid holiday shopping alone at night. If you do have to go at night, park as close to the entrance as possible and in a well-lit area. Avoid parking next to suspicious vehicles, stay off your cell phone and always keep an eye on your surroundings.
- Use the buddy system when possible and shop with a friend or family member. For extra protection, download an app on your phone, like Noonlight, that can notify authorities in case of an emergency.
- Buckle your purse to your shopping cart, or keep it on your shoulder while you shop.
- If you’re shopping at multiple stores, don’t leave your shopping bags in plain view in your car. Hide items under the seat or lock them in your trunk.
- Always have your keys in hand when walking to and from your car, especially at night.
- Firmly hold onto your purse, shopping bags and packages and don’t set them down, even when opening the door. Quick thieves can grab them and run off while you’re unlocking your car.
- If you see suspicious people in parking lot or nearby area, do not walk to your car alone. Ask for store security to escort you to your vehicle for added protection.
- Be careful when shopping online. Shop on trusted, secure websites using a secure form of payment such as a credit card. Protect your personal information by clearing out any auto-fill forms.
- Have packages delivered to your office or to a trusted neighbor who is home during the day. It doesn’t take long for a thief to walk up to your door and away with your delivery. For added protection, invest in video monitoring and a video doorbell for your home and office so you can keep an eye on your deliveries.
- After the holidays, flatten and recycle any boxes for TVs, bikes, computers or any other Christmas gifts that you may have lying around outside of your house. These can tip off burglars to what valuable items may be in your home for their taking.
- Extension cords running through a window for Christmas lights can create a severe security hazard, as this usually prevents the window from being closed and locked. If your home doesn’t have an exterior electrical outlet, have one installed by a professional.
- Use Z-Wave enabled plugs and outlets for your Christmas lights and decorations, allowing you to manage your decorations from your phone.