Panter’s Pointers: Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

Holiday shopping safety is a hot topic every November and December. Shopping during the holidays, while fun and exciting, can also lead to dangerous situations. While shoppers are out buying presents for friends and family, criminals are looking for the opportunity to steal from distracted shoppers. Falling victim to theft and/or personal injury during the holidays can not only dampen your spirit, but have a lasting impact on your financial and physical well-being. That’s what we’re dedicating this edition of Panter’s Pointers to holiday shopping safety tips:

This season it’s important to practice these holiday shopping safety tips while you’re combing town for those must-have gifts:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Take note of who is around you at all times, where security is located and where you can find the closest sales associate. If you feel unsafe, or feel like someone is watching you, walk to a safe location or find a nearby security guard.
  • Park in secure, well-lit parking lots. Dark parking lots can be prime locations for thieves to hide out and capitalize on a distracted shopper searching for their vehicle. Take note of where you parked so that you’re not searching the parking lot when you’re finished shopping. Or, shop during daylight hours to avoid the hazards that come with nighttime shopping.
  • Carry money and belongings securely. If you’re carrying a purse, carry it close to your body and in front of you if possible and carry wallets in front pockets. Leave unnecessary items at home and only bring the credit cards, cash, checks and IDs you need.
  • Keep your hands free. Avoid overloading yourself with large and heavy bags and keep your hands free in case of a possible mishap. If you’re going to be on a large shopping trip, consider bringing a friend to help you with your bags.
  • Don’t drop your guard once you make it home. Remove packages from your car and place them in a secure spot inside of your home immediately after arriving. Leaving gifts inside your car can create an opportunity for thieves to walk away with your newly purchased items.
  • Shop in pairs or in a group. Shopping in a group or with a friend can decrease the risk of theft. As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers.
  • Keep copies of important numbers and information. Make photo copies of your credit cards and write down important customer service numbers in a secure area. If your purse or wallet is stolen, having easy access to this information can help you quickly report the theft.
  • Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations. Wait until you return to your car to count withdrawn money, with the doors locked and windows closed.

Keeping these tips in mind before you head out for holiday shopping can help keep you and your possessions safe this season. Take every precaution necessary to ensure your holiday stays safe and happy this year.

Sources:

Eye On Palmetto Bay, “Stay Safe, Palmetto BayHolidayShopping Tips,” December 11, 2010

KERO 23, “Holiday Shopping Safety Tips,” November 29, 2011

NBC4i, “Columbus Police Offer Safe Holiday Shopping Tips,” November 25, 2011