After the Thanksgiving food comas, football, and family time, comes a weekend of shopping. Many stores offer deals and deep discounts that make shopping trips easier on the wallet, but make sure to still take precautions to keep you and your accounts safe! Use these tips to protect yourself on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as shopping throughout the year.
- Check return policies and read ads carefully before heading out for the day.
- Double check stores price-matching policies to avoid running around to multiple stores.
- Budget before you go to know your spending limit.
- Keep an eye on children while shopping as separation can happen easily.
- During checkout, keep wallets and electronics in your bags to avoid forgetting them on the counter or having them stolen.
- Do not purchase more than you can carry and do not leave purchases in the car throughout the day. Bring friends or family members to help carry around bags or sit with them.
- When walking out to the car, or perusing stores, always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Stay off cell phones and always unlock car doors when you get to the car.
- Have keys and purses ready to get in the car as you approach it. Don’t dawdle searching through bags.
- Park in well lit areas and lock valuables in the trunk before you get to the mall.
- Make sure that you have a plan for the day, and that someone knows that plan. If you are caught out later than planned, keep friends or family updated to the change.
- Pay with a credit card, as opposed to a debit card or wire transfer. Credit card transactions can be disputed, but debit cards and wire transfers allow thieves access to your accounts.
- Make sure your online security software is up to date and running correctly to avoid hacking and phishing.
- CyberMonday.com has a list of retailers with deep discounts for shoppers. This website can be used instead of advertisements to find deals.
- Do not click the links in emails from unknown senders. Beware of phony discount emails!
- Shop on secure websites. If the website URL begins with, https:// as opposed to,http:// then the site is secure.
- Creating passwords for checkout can be tedious, but make sure passwords differ from site to site. This will make it harder to steal information on your account.
- Even though the price of an item seems discounted, shop around and compare prices to find the best deal.
- If a discount looks entirely too good, there’s a chance it is. Check online businesses with the Better Business Bureau before purchasing.
- Beware of toys and items that have been recalled or knockoffs without warranties. Visit Recalls.gov to check items before purchase.
- Document all purchases and keep track of spending on credit cards to avoid unauthorized purchases.
If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission, cancel the credit cards that were targeted, and notify your bank. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office also has a few tips to keep you safe this Holiday shopping season.