The season of giving is well underway and that means many of us are scouring newspaper ads and checking the web for the best deals on holiday gifts. Several shops and stores are offering 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 doorbusters and regular sales begin.
- Budget before you go and know your spending limit.
- Check price matching policies in advance.
- Don’t leave purses or wallets in your shopping cart.
- Keep wallets and electronics in a purse, bag, or front pocket during checkout to avoid forgetting them on the counter or having them stolen.
- Watch merchants while they handle your credit card.
- Be discrete with large amounts of cash.
- Remember to use any coupons and request gift receipts and rebates at checkout.
- Check out CyberMonday.com to view a list of retailers with huge discounts.
- Make sure your online security software is up to date and running correctly to avoid hacking and phishing.
- Don’t click links in emails from unknown senders.
- Create unique passwords for every account to make it more difficult for people to get access.
- Shop only on secure websites where the website URL begins with “https.” Look for the “s” at the end.
- Shop around and compare prices to find the best deal and search for additional promotional codes.
- Beware of toys and items that have been recalled or knockoffs without warranties. Visit recalls.gov to check items before purchasing.
- Check online businesses with the Better Business Bureau before purchasing if a discount looks too good to be true.
- 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.
- Document all purchases and keep track of spending on credit cards to avoid unauthorized purchases.
Brick and Mortar Shopping
- Create a plan for the day and make sure at least one person knows it.
- Keep family and friends updated if you’re out later than planned.
- Shop during daylight hours, when possible.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Park your car in a visible location.
- Lock your vehicle and don’t leave purses, wallets, or electronic devices in it.
- Don’t leave packages visible in your vehicle.
- Have your keys out and ready before you exit the store.
- Be observant as you walk to and from your vehicle.
- Lock the doors and leave immediately once inside your vehicle.
- 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.
- Report identity theft the moment it happens to the Federal Trade Commission, cancel any credit cards that were targeted, and notify your bank.
We hope you have an enjoyable and safe holiday shopping season!