The two days of the year that savvy shoppers look forward to the most are almost here – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While it can certainly be exciting to make a gift for a loved one (or yourself …) during the holidays, shopping during this time of year can often be stressful. Security is often put on hold as shoppers prepare for extreme shopping opportunities. That’s why we’ve put together some tips on how to stay safe while you wait for bouncers and hunt for the best deals.
Black Friday and in-store Christmas shopping safety tips
- Use Smart Home Security to protect your home while you are on the go. Arming your security system is a matter of course. But don’t forget to use smart home automation devices like smart locks, garage door controls and video doorbells.
- Plan your shopping trips in advance. We know you’ve been researching the best deals in your favorite stores anyway! Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to write down which offers are where and which discounts you would like to take advantage of. This minimizes the time spent searching the shelves and shelves in the store.
- When shopping with kids, be proactive and choose a central hangout in case you are separated from them. Teach them to seek help from a security guard or shop clerk if they cannot find you.
- We don’t recommend bringing a large purse with you when you’re out on Black Friday, but if you bring one keep it close to your body. Whenever possible, keep your wallet, debit / credit cards and / or cash in a front pocket to avoid becoming a victim of pickpockets.
- Do not take your money or credit cards out of your pocket, wallet, or purse until it is time to check out. It’s easy to misplace or drop them as you navigate the Black Friday madness.
- Limit vacation spending to one debit or credit card account. Data breaches are not uncommon these days. When something like this happens, it is much easier to handle one compromised credit card than multiple, so we recommend using only one on Black Friday.
- There are probably a hot ticket item or two that you have been keeping an eye out for and are waiting for a price drop. No matter what the deal is, don’t argue about it. Anyone can get carried away with the Black Friday Blitz, but trust us: whatever you’ve tried to fight isn’t worth it. Chances are you’ll get a similar deal online for Cyber Monday!
- Save your receipts! The abundance of discounts we see on this day could lead to some impulse buying. Keep your receipts handy for hassle-free returns and exchanges.
Driving and parking safety tips for Christmas shopping
- Be vigilant on the road. Large crowds mean more traffic and a higher likelihood of accidents and fender bending.
- Be patient when you find a parking space. Just like battling over that last hot toy on the shelf, it’s not worth taking your sled around when you are 6 feet closer to the entrance! Don’t rush to find a vacant spot and stay alert to other buyers driving recklessly.
- Park in a well-lit area and be mindful of your surroundings as you exit and arrive at your vehicle.
- Keep your shopping bags out of sight. We recommend keeping them in the trunk.
- When leaving a store, watch out for other cars, people, and especially children as you reverse and navigate the parking lot.
Online Shopping Safety Tips for Cyber Monday and the Holidays
- Try to stick with reputable and well-known retailers or with whom you have shopped before. If you are shopping from a small or independent store / boutique, be sure to check out online customer reviews and complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
- Be extra careful this year! In the event of supply chain bottlenecks and delivery delays, fraudsters can attempt to steal shoppers who are looking for items in demand.
- If a business sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’ve seen an item in a certain price range from all the other retailers, then the drastically discounted item you found online on a sketchy website is probably not real.
- Always avoid public WiFi when shopping online. When you have no other option, use a VPN to prevent hackers from intercepting and stealing your information.
- Always verify the security of a website by looking for the lock icon in the URL box. You want the URL to start with HTTPS, not HTTP. The “s” means that the site is encrypted and your data and information are better protected from hackers.
- If you have online retailer accounts, be sure to protect your account and information with a strong password. We also don’t recommend saving your card to your account just in case your account gets hacked.
- As mentioned above with Black Friday Receipts, save all confirmations and receipts of online purchases for smoother returns, exchanges, or ordering issues.
One last tip to stay safe when shopping for Christmas
When you’ve finished your Christmas shopping for the day, take a few more minutes to check your bank account and any credit cards you’ve used. Take a minute to go through the transactions and make sure each amount is correct. If you come across an unauthorized transaction, call your bank / card issuer immediately.
Keeping these tips in mind when looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can keep your Christmas shopping going smoothly and successfully. Keep Calm, Stay Safe and Get the Deals you’ve been waiting for all year!