Thanksgiving is almost here and many of us will soon be scouring the newspapers and checking emails for the best Black Friday deals. After that, we’ll look forward to Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and even Giving Tuesday. Many shops offer deals and deep discounts that make shopping trips and online shopping easier on the wallet, but be sure to take precautions to keep you and your accounts safe!
See our tips on Special Sales Events, Online Shopping, and Brick and Mortar Shopping, to ensure safe shopping this holiday season and throughout the year!
Special Sales Events
- Check return policies and read ads carefully to see what time door busters and regular sales begin.
- Double check price-matching policies to avoid running around to multiple stores.
- Budget before you go, know your spending limit.
- Keep an eye on children while shopping as separation can happen easily.
- Don’t leave purses or wallets in your shopping cart.
- During checkout, keep wallets and electronics in a purse, bag, or front pocket to avoid forgetting them on the counter or having them stolen.
- Watch merchants while they handle your credit card.
- Don’t show off large amounts of cash.
- 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 links in emails from unknown senders. Beware of phony discount emails.
- Don’t enter credit card or personal information on non-secure websites beginning with: http.
- Shop only on secure websites where the website URL begins with: https – look for the ‘s’ at the end.
- 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.
Brick and Mortar Shopping
- Make sure that you have a plan for the day, and that someone knows that plan. If you are going to be out later than originally planned, keep friends or family updated.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Shop during daylight hours, when possible.
- Always lock your vehicle and don’t leave purses, wallets, or electronic devices in it.
- Don’t leave packages visible in your vehicle. If you have to leave packages in your vehicle, lock them in the trunk or cover with a blanket. Consider bringing friends or family members to help with packages.
- Park in a spot that’s near or under a street light, one where you will be openly visible to others.
- Be observant as you walk to and from your vehicle. If you feel uneasy or notice something suspicious, ask a store employee to accompany you to your vehicle.
- Have your keys out and ready before you exit the store.
- Once inside your vehicle, lock the doors and leave immediately. Don’t sit looking at receipts, scrolling through phone messages, etc.
- Report stolen items to the police immediately. If someone contacts you to return a stolen item, contact your local police department to facilitate the exchange.
- If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission, cancel any credit cards that were targeted, and notify your bank.
See the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office tips to help keep you safe this Holiday shopping season and follow along with them on Facebook and Twitter.
We hope you have an enjoyable and safe holiday shopping season!