Thanksgiving is not only a time for expressing gratitude and enjoying family and friends, the holiday marks two of the busiest shopping opportunities in the U.S.—Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Follow these extra tips for a safe holiday and secure shopping experience.
Black Friday (Day after Thanksgiving)
- Deals are now beginning well before Friday, with stores staying open later, so businesses and shoppers should plan for crowds.
- Park close to your destination, in a well-lit area, and lock packages in the trunk, out of sight.
- Avoid parking next to vans or large trucks that can block your vehicle from the sight of others.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you witness any suspicious behavior, leave the area immediately.
Guarding Against Theft
- Use ATMs in well-populated areas during the day, and do not leave receipts at the ATM location.
- Never leave your purse or smartphone unattended in a shopping cart, on a countertop or in your car.
- Take extra care with purses and wallets; carry your purse close to your body and your wallet in an inside or zippered pocket.
- Shop with others, when possible. If shopping with small children, establish a meeting point in case of separation inside a store or mall.
- Teach small children how to seek help from store personnel or store security in case you are separated.
- Report any suspicious activity to store/mall security or law enforcement. If you see something, say something.
- Request a security escort to help with oversized purchases and to accompany you to your car if you feel vulnerable while shopping alone at night.
- When returning to your vehicle, keep your keys out and lock your doors as soon as you are inside.
Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving)
- Shop with known businesses; do your research about their past performances and financial stability.
- Conduct transactions on a secure server only; look for the padlock device on the browser’s status bar. The URL should change from http to shttp or https when asked for payment information indicating that the purchase is encrypted or secure.
- Do not record your social security or driver’s license number online, as it is not needed for purchases.
- Have packages delivered to an address where they will not be left unattended.
- Secure web servers that contain customer information.
- Add the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software to your computers, and update firewalls regularly.
- Check your receipt to ensure that the actual price paid is the same amount charged to your card.
- Monitor your credit card statements for any unauthorized charges.
Remember that safety is a daily priority for everyone – whether you are shopping at home or in a mall and even when you aren’t shopping at all. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Allied Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.