Safe Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season
Protect Shopping Bags. Never let anyone else “watch” your bags while you are shopping – always keep your bags in eyesight. This can even apply to spouses and children, as no one else may appreciate your purchases as much as you do!
Gift Card Safety. Only buy gift cards from reputable retailers, not through online auction sites. Gift cards sold through online auction sites are more likely to be counterfeit or obtained through fraudulent means. It’s even possible that these cards could have no value when purchased.
Keep Receipts. Consumers should keep the original receipt for every gift they purchase and ask for a gift receipt to give to the recipient. Receipts guarantee proof of purchase for both you and the gift recipient in the event that an item needs to be returned or exchanged.
Educate Children. Teach kids what to do if you get separated by instructing your child to look for a security guard, police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help. Also make sure that your children know what to do if approached by a stranger while shopping.
Store Credit Card Information at Home. Make sure you have your credit card customer service phone numbers, account number and PIN written down at home in case you lose a credit card while shopping or you misplace your purse or wallet.
Stay Alert. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, pay attention to your surroundings.
Auto Safety. Keep doors locked and windows closed when leaving your vehicle. Remember to turn off lights and take your keys. Store packages, electronics, and other important items in the trunk of a vehicle. Leaving them visible inside the car is an invitation for someone to break in.
Be Careful With Your Cash. If you prefer to pay with cash, never bring out the entire stash from your wallet. It’s best to count your money discreetly out of sight from others. Also, consider bringing only what you might need for the shopping trip. If you’re only spending $50, there’s no sense in putting $600 in your wallet.
Park close to your destination. If you know it’s going to be dark when you return to your car, try to park under a street light and always take the most brightly lit path to and from your car.
Be Vigilant. If you see something suspicious, report it to store personnel, mall security or your local police department.
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