The hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and not far behind are the thieves and cons who show up in full force this time of year to make a quick buck.
To protect yourself, keep in mind these safe shopping tips from the National Retail Federation:
- Shopping bags. Never let anyone else "watch" your bags while you are shopping—always keep your bags in eyesight (this goes for spouses or family members who you might be shopping with, no one appreciates your purchases more than you do!).
- Gift card safety tips: Shoppers should only buy gift cards from reputable retailers (not online auction sites). Gift cards on online auction sites are more likely to be counterfeit or obtained through fraudulent means.
- Receipts. Consumers should keep their original receipt with the value of the card that they purchased in case there are any problems with the card when it is redeemed.
- Educate your kids. Teach kids what to do if you get separated. (The best option is to instruct your child to look for a security guard, police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help.)
- Communicate. Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. Let them know if you change your schedule.
- Stay alert. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, pay attention to your surroundings.
- Lock the car. Keep doors locked and windows closed when leaving your vehicle. Remember to turn off your lights and take your keys.
- Use credit cards safely. Beware of identity theft and keep receipts safe.
- Write down credit card and PIN numbers and leave a copy of it at home.
- Hide packages. Store packages in the trunk of the car. Never leave them visible inside the car. That’s an invitation for someone to break your windows and steal.
- Be vigilant. If you see something suspicious, report it to store personnel, mall security or your local police department.