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Holiday Season Safety Tips

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Don’t throw caution to the wind to rush through shopping. Use these holiday shopping tips to keep you and your gifts safe this holiday season whether it is online or in store.

General Safety

  • Park and walk only in well-lit areas, avoiding areas containing obstacles that provide hiding spots or that obstruct your view of the surrounding area. If possible, try not to shop after dark.
  • Do not exit your vehicle to use an ATM. ATMs not located in well-lit open areas, or walk up ATMs not located in secure vestibules should be avoided.
  • Vary routes of travel for outings and daily movements.
  • Leave work in groups of two or more, especially after dark.

“Remember the acronym S.A.F.E. – Situational Awareness For Every Environment. Be aware of what’s around you and if it seems too good to be true, or it doesn’t look safe, follow your instincts. Safeguard your cards, pin numbers and yourself while you’re out in public too. Stay in well-lit areas and maintain visibility. Remember, if it doesn’t feel right seek another alternative, contact law enforcement, or find a safe place to go.” – Tavis Johnson, Family Trust Security and Facilities Officer

Shopping in Stores

  • Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
  • Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file
    folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements
    as they come in.
  • Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multi-use
    disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.

Shopping with Small Children

  • Select a central meeting place in case you are separated from each other.
  • Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.

Walking to and From Your Car

  • Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front pant pockets.
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
  • Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

Shopping Online

  • Before shopping online, secure your device by updating your security
    software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam
    software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit Bytecrime for free software downloads.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to
    requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the
    contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
  • Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.

Enjoy your holiday shopping and stay safe!