With less than two weeks left before Christmas, many of us are still browsing the web and the stores in search of the perfect gifts to complete our holiday shopping. We can all get wrapped up in the chaos and fun, but—whether you’re out at the mall or shopping online—always remember to put safety first. Criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your personal information and money... So here are some tips to being a proactive shopper:
Be Cautious With Purses and Wallets
If you carry a purse, don’t let it hang by your side in such a way that a robber could run up and easily grab it. Carry your purse in front of you or hold it close to your body.
In the situation where a criminal confronts you, and asks for your belongings, you should already know what your response will be. Will you comply, flee or fight? It is important to decide this in advance so your response is automatic.
Law enforcement authorities recommend keeping a small amount of cash in an easily-accessible pocket or in your purse to satisfy criminals who are primarily interested in taking your cash.
Approaching Your Car
Always park in a well-lit location, preferably near the entrance of the building or mall.
Avoid filling your arms with packages, equipment or personal belongs when you go to your car. Approach your car with your keys out and ready to use in case you need to hit the panic button or get into your vehicle quickly.
Don’t hesitate to ask a security guard to escort you to your car. Guards are accustomed to receive such requests and will be glad to help.
Activate Fraud Alerts
Get updates sent to your phone or email. Most banks have a mobile app for additional alerts on the go, including instant notifications of irregular or suspicious activity.
Ensure that you’re Credit Card Company and bank has your most up to date contact details, especially your mobile phone number, so they can contact you in the event of possible fraud.
Do not respond to unsolicited or spam emails. Credit card email communication will usually include your first name, last name, and the last 5 digits of your account number. If an email claiming to be from your credit card providers does not include this inform or contains attached files or links, report it immediately.
Change Your Password Regularly
Changing your password regularly can help prevent unauthorized access to your online account.
Identity thieves may steal user IDs and passwords from one website and use them to log into other sites.
Use combinations of at least eight letters, numbers, and symbols, and be sure to use different passwords across your banking, email, and social media accounts.
Only Use Secure Connections
Look for a padlock screen icon or a key icon at the left of the URL to indicate a safe and secure internet purchase
If you are purchasing merchandise online and using a credit card, be sure the company has set up a secure connection.