|By Shoppers_on_Dundas,_near_Yonge.jpg: Ian Muttooderivative work: Pbsouthwood [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The holidays are a time for giving and for celebrations with friends and family. And for many people, it’s also a time for shopping and spending. Unfortunately, it’s also a time for increased crime, especially theft. Whether you’re shopping online or in the malls, here are some safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season.
Think ahead and pay attention to what’s going on around you.
First and foremost, trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, whether its someone following too closely or something about a website you’ve never been to or a deal in your inbox that seems too good to be true, go with your instinct. Change direction and walk towards a crowd, bookmark the site for later after doing some research.
- Keep your purse across your body close to you, or, for men, your wallet in your front pocket.
- Make sure that you can comfortable carry your purchases, if not ask for assistance.
- If you’re making multiple stops, put your packages in the trunk and make sure they aren’t visible.
- If you’re shopping at night, pick well-lit parking spots close to the entrance.
Protect yourself from credit and debit card theft
Most shoppers enjoy the convenience of credit and debit cards for the holidays. You can protect yourself from theft by being careful to check the area before using an ATM. Also, when swiping your credit or debit cards and entering signature of pin information on digital displays, stay close to the screen and only pull out your card for the transaction. That gives little opportunity for thieved to get your credit card number.
Shop smart online
Online shopping is convenient and saves time and money, letting you hunt down the best deals without battling traffic and the malls. We as customers can get very comfortable doing our online shopping, even as cybercriminals get craftier. And identity theft is a complicated and lengthy process to recover from. However, you can take steps to ensure sites are safe and secure.
- First, look for the “https://” in the domain name. Many sites start with “http;” “https” indicates a secure site, as does the lock icon.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date, and that you have complex, hard to guess passwords (upper and lower case, symbols, don’t use your birthday or your name).
- If you have a suspicion that your information has been taken, make sure you contact your financial institution.
Follow these tips and share them with your friends and family. Happy shopping!