Avoid Being a Target for Thieves While Holiday Shopping
The holidays are a busy time of year for shoppers trying to cross items off of their gift lists and make returns, which also make it a busy time of year for thieves. Whether you do your shopping in person or in cyberspace, be sure to take extra measures to protect yourself and your assets this holiday season. Here are some holiday shopping safety tips to keep in mind.
When you’re shopping in retail districts, shopping centers or malls, follow these holiday shopping safety recommendations:
- Be aware of your surroundings by avoiding distractions. You’re an easier target for thieves if you’re looking at your phone, listening to music, or otherwise not paying attention to what’s around you.
- Men, carry your wallet in a front pocket. Women can do the same, or, if you must bring a purse, wear the strap so that your bag is close to your body and in front of you.
- Be wary of retailer card offers. Sure, the discounts offered for big purchases when you open an account seem like a good deal, but your personal information often has to be written down, which is not always a very secure handoff.
- Don’t leave visible packages in your car. If you’re making multiple stops in a shopping trip, store previous purchases and valuables in opaque storage bins or your trunk. Packages that are visible from car windows are an easy target for thieves.
- If you have to stow packages between stops at the mall, put them away as quickly as possible without drawing attention to yourself.
If you’re shopping online, here are some tips to keep you safe this holiday season:
- Verify that you are on the secure site of a store by only shopping on websites that begin with “https” and be wary of email offers. “Phishing schemes,” where scammers send out emails that look like they come from legitimate businesses and then collect your information, are on the rise during the holidays.
- Don’t do your online shopping over open Wi-Fi networks such as coffee shops. Public Internet access gives scammers an easy way to hack into your personal information.
- Think before you share. Social media shares can contain a lot of personal information, which should be kept private and away from the eyes of hackers. Also, think before you post about your purchases, gifts that you’ve been given, and when you’re away from home.
Regardless of your chosen method of shopping, monitor your accounts closely during the holidays. Unauthorized charges often come up as large amounts, but some thieves have been known to take smaller, less noticeable amounts over time. Be awareof what’s going on around you and take precautions both outside and online, and you can have a safe holiday season.
If you’ve been targeted by holiday scams, a consultation with an attorney can help you find out what your options are.
10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft During the Holidays. www.money.usnews.com, 10 Nov 2015, Kimberly Palmer