Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

‘Tis the season to be robbed!  Holiday season is prime time for thieves and con-artists to take advantage of innocent Christmas shoppers.  Being careless and vulnerable leaves one open to predators. Always take preventative measures when shopping during the holiday season. 

But beware my friends, criminals also lurk online.  With the dawn of technology, internet scams are the new form of “grab and run” crimes.  The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season in the mall (offline) and online.

Shopping Offline
·         Try shopping during the day but if you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
·         Do not carry large amounts of cash and avoid carrying a purse or wallet.  If you must carry a purse, be attentive especially in crowded areas.
·         Keep cash securely in your front pockets.
·         Stay alert to your surroundings and beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.
·         Avoid using cash.  Using a credit card is safer and it’s easier to keep track of purchases.
·         If your credit card is stolen, notify the company as soon as possible.
·         Wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

Shopping Online
·        Only shop on secure websites.  Read the websites security and privacy policies to ensure that your information is being transmitted encrypted.
·        Always research the website before deciding to make a purchase.  Consumer review websites like Resellerratings.com provide feedback from past customers of the site you are considering.
·         Never give out your social security number.  It is not required to provide a social security number when shopping online.  If the website asks, reconsider purchasing from that site.
·         Use a credit card when purchasing online.  It’s the safest way to shop because you have the right to dispute fraudulent purchases.  Also, if you use a debit card or check, it displays your bank account to thieves and is directly linked to your checking account.  In a matter of seconds your whole bank account could be cleared.
·        Only disclose the minimum amount of information required to make a purchase.  If it’s not required, don’t answer it.
·        Always keep your passwords private.  Never divulge your password to anyone. Note: more reputable sites require for you to create a login with a password to shop on their sites.
·       Keep copies of your orders and confirmation numbers. 

Follow these simple tips to ensure safe, happy and crime free holidays for you and your family.

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