“Robbery and personal theft increase by over 20% in the month of December."
9 Simple Tips to Safeguard Holiday Season Shopping
As the holiday season rolls in, the spirit of joy and celebration is palpable. The holiday season also attracts opportunistic criminals. To ensure that your holiday shopping remains safe and free from crime, we've compiled these essential safety tips for you to follow.
1. Leave Your Wallet Behind
When heading out for holiday shopping, bring only the essentials: one credit card and your ID. Carrying only a single credit card and your ID means you have less valuable information and property to lose. In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, when crowds are dense and distractions are numerous, thieves often take advantage of people carrying bulky wallets and purses.
2. Guard Against "Shoulder Surfers"
Considering the widespread use of smartphones, it's no surprise that credit card thieves use them to snap shot your credit card information. Take precautions to safeguard your credit card details during transactions and thwart potential "shoulder surfers" attempting to clandestinely capture your information.
3. Designate One Credit Card for Holiday Shopping
Opting for a single credit card solely for your holiday shopping is a proactive measure that offers several advantages. Credit cards come equipped with added layers of protection against fraud, making them a more secure choice for your transactions.
In the unfortunate event that your information is compromised, dealing with just one credit card company simplifies the process, alleviating the stress of the busy holiday season. Additionally, this approach allows you to easily keep tabs on your account for any signs of fraudulent activity.
Using a single card also helps with budget management by consolidating all your holiday expenses into a single, comprehensible statement, ensuring you stay on top of your spending during this festive season.
4. Shop During Daylight Hours Only
Violent crimes, such as assaults and robberies, are more likely to occur during evening and nighttime hours when there is reduced visibility and potential victims may be more vulnerable.
As winter brings shorter days, strive to schedule your shopping trips during daylight hours. Well-lit environments are safer, as criminals find it challenging to conceal themselves behind obstacles, allowing witnesses to identify them more easily.
5. Phishing and Click Bait Email Scams
Phishing email fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated. To protect yourself, verify the sender's email address and the website linked in the email are legit. Sometimes they may differ by only one letter or by a different extension such as .net instead of .com.
One letter or number may be placed in the email address that a quick scan with your eyes can easily overlook. If these details don't match the authentic company's credentials, avoid proceeding and report the incident to the genuine company.
6. Don't Overload with Shopping Bags
Though the temptation to reduce trips to the car is understandable, it's important to avoid overloading your arms with shopping bags. This compromises your ability to protect yourself in the event of a potential encounter with an attacker. You need to be able to quickly drop your shopping bags and deploy your self-defense weapon if an attacker approaches.
7. Put Your Junk in Your Trunk
If you have an extensive shopping list, make multiple trips to your car to store items in the trunk. This minimizes the risk of theft because most criminals aim for "smash, grab, and go" scenarios rather than prying open a trunk in a busy, well-lit parking lot.
Additionally, park near the front of the parking lot where there is a lot more traffic and visibility. Eliminating blind spots around your car makes it a less desirable target for thieves. Choosing a high visibility parking spot also makes you less vulnerable walking from the store to your car too.
“Credit card fraud accounts for almost 50% of all identity theft.”
8. Maintain Awareness - Avoid Tunnel Vision
Amidst the holiday shopping rush, it's easy to get lost in your task. Stay vigilant, look around, and remain attentive. Maintain the security of your purse and shopping bags at all times by keeping them in front of your body. One hand should be on them at all time.
Have your stun gun ready and in hand before you leave the store to walk to your car. Stay off your cell phone and be alert when approaching your car. Check if someone is lurking in the area, sitting in a nearby vehicle, or hiding beneath your car.
9. Beware of "Windshield Bait"
A new criminal tactic known as "windshield bait" involves placing something under a car's windshield wiper, often money, to get the attention of the vehicle's owner. This distraction creates the window of opportunity a criminal wants to attack you, steal your vehicle or take your valuables.
To counter this, be cautious and observant as you approach your car. If you spot something suspicious, backtrack to find a security guard or a police officer. If you realize this has happened once in your car, don’t get our and remove it at your current location. Drive away to a well lit and populated parking lot before getting out to remove it from your windshield and immediately report it to police.
By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy your holiday shopping while keeping yourself and your belongings secure. With a combination of vigilance, preparedness, and smart choices, you can fully embrace the holiday spirit without worry. Incorporating these straightforward yet critical holiday shopping safety measures significantly reduces your vulnerability to holiday shopping-related crime.
This holiday season, prioritize safety and give the gift of protection to yourself and your loved ones. Defense Divas® wants you to be equipped to defend yourself not only with a self-defense weapon, but also with the practical knowledge of safety awareness and prevention.
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