“If your credit card is stolen, you won’t have to lock down all of your accounts.”
Use one credit card designated for all your holiday shopping.
This is probably the #1 proactive holiday shopping safety suggestion we can make. There are a number of benefits to handling your holiday shopping this way.
- Credit cards have additional layers of fraud protection insurance that you don’t get with other forms of payment.
- You will only have to alert one credit card company if your information is stolen, but also be able to monitor account activity with one login during the busy holiday season.
- You should login and review your account periodically through the holiday season to scan for any fraudulent charges and notify the bank.
- If your credit card is stolen, you won’t have to lock down all of your accounts. This can be extremely inconvenient when you need to get the rest of your Christmas shopping finished.
- Keeping all of your holiday expenses on one credit card is an excellent way to stay on budget because all of your holiday expenses are on one statement.
Don’t take your whole wallet with you when you go holiday shopping.
If you’ve followed our first suggestion, you only need to take one credit card and your ID. Leave the rest of your wallet at home.
If someone does steal your purse or wallet, you will not lose everything else that you need to operate on a day to day basis and only have a few phone calls to make in order to alert the credit card company and replace your driver’s license.
See and be seen when you go holiday shopping.
With Winter, comes shorter days. It can be difficult to avoid, but try to plan your trips to the mall during daylight hours. It’s simply safer. Thieves can hide behind cars, light posts and garbage cans much easier in the dark and they certainly don’t want their face to be easily identifiable by witnesses to the crime.
Watch out for “shoulder surfers”.
Everyone seems to have a cell phone glued to their hands these days, so it should be no surprise that credit card thieves do too. Cover your credit card number when you are handing it to the cashier or inserting it into the card reader. There is a new brand of identity thieves called “shoulder surfers”.
They may be standing behind you in line and appear to be surfing their phone while they wait to checkout. However, what they are really doing is taking a photograph of your credit card to use for their own Christmas shopping spree.
Beware of “click bait” emails when holiday shopping online.
Phishing email fraud has become so sophisticated that it can be difficult to tell the difference between an email from a reputable company that you trust and one that looks EXACTLY like them but wants to capture your name, address and credit card number to steal your identity.
As a general rule, review the actual address that the email came from and the website address that the link in their email forwards to. If these are not the authentic company’s credentials, do not go any further and report this information to the true and real company.
“Watch out for windshield bait and the criminal who put it there when getting in your car.”
Don’t overload your arms with shopping bags.
It’s easy to do when you’re on a mission to complete your Christmas shopping list, but don’t have your hands full and your arms slung with shopping bags, like bracelets, as you’re walking to your car.
You need your hands and arms free to defend yourself if you’re approached by an attacker. Only carry a few bags in each hand that can be easily dropped or even used to swing at an attacker.
If you’ve got a lot of shopping to do, it’s better to make several trips to your car and put the items in your trunk. True, a calculating holiday thief could be casing the parking lot and watching for people to put things in their cars and then go back in to the store.
However, if the items are in your trunk, they are much safer than within view through the car windows. Most parking lot car thieves are looking for an easy “smash, grab and go”. They do not want to spend the time it takes to pry open a trunk in a busy parking lot and in broad daylight for others to see.
Don’t have tunnel vision.
It’s easy to get in “the zone” when you are holiday shopping. It can be crowded, hectic and crazy. You just want to get in and get out with the things you came for as quickly (and painlessly) as possible. But look up! Look around!
Pay special attention as you are approaching your car. Is someone sitting in the car next to (or near) yours? Look under your car as you are approaching it. And always look inside your car before you get into it.
Beware of “windshield bait”.
There is a new criminal trick being used effectively by thieves and it’s called “windshield bait”. The criminals put something under the windshield wiper of a parked car.
Often, it’s money, because of the draw money has on everyone. The plan of attack is that the car’s owner will be opening their car to leave and see the “windshield bait”.
As they get out to retrieve it from under their windshield wiper, the criminal jumps in to either steal something in the car or even the car itself.
Look for “windshield bait” as you are approaching your car and before you unlock it. If you do see something suspicious, you should turn around and walk back the way you came to locate a security guard or police officer.
Following these simple precautionary holiday shopping safety tips can significantly reduce your chances of being the victim of holiday shopping crime. To learn more about this topic, please visit our YouTube Channel Holiday Season Shopping Safety Playlist. We found these videos to be full of beneficial information in research for this article.
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