The holiday season is the most festive time of the year but it can also be extremely stressful if you are not careful. Malls are full of people shopping looking for the perfect gift for the perfect price. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of going from store to store that safety can be the farthest thing from people’s mind. While looking for the next bargain it is paramount that you think about your safety as well.
Choose the right purse.
Leave your tote and clutch at home. Choose a purse that fits close to your body so that you can deter pickpockets. Opt for a purse with a longer strap or a swingpack purse that you can wear across your body and under your coat; another great option is a fanny pack. Yes, a fanny pack. Today’s fanny packs are a safe and chic option created by your favorite designers, long gone are the ugly bags that easily identified you as a tourist.
Make sure your bag has compartments for your cash and credit cards so that you are not fumbling through your bag trying to locate your belongings; and never carry more cash than absolutely necessary. Guy’s need to make sure their wallets are secure; instead of putting your wallet in your back pocket put it in your front pocket or utilize a hidden inside jacket pocket.
Create a game plan for shopping with your children.
Encourage your children to be mindful of their safety and surroundings while they shop. If you are shopping with Teens and they want to go off on their own be sure to have a time and rendezvous point that you will meet at once everyone is done shopping. Make sure your teens are not distracted by their cell phones, and be sure they don’t wear earphones around the mall while shopping. Teach your younger children how to locate and ask store personnel for help should you get separated- make sure they are accompanied by an adult at all times, and do not allow them to wander off.
Be alert walking to and from your car.
Park your car in a well lit parking area and have your keys ready when you are approaching your vehicle. Don’t wait until you get to the parking lot to look for your keys. Check your surroundings before you get into your car and don’t be shy about using the alarm or panic button. If you notice someone who looks suspicious or something just doesn’t seem right use your panic button as a deterrent and signal for help. Some malls offer security escorts during the holidays if you have lots of bags, find out if this service is available at your local mall. If you are going to multiple stores don’t leave your bags visible on the car seats, stow your purchases in the trunk.
Don’t wait until the last minute to shop.
Start shopping early. Starting early allows you to be more relaxed and you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings. Last minute shoppers are often flustered, carrying too many bags, and can be visibly distracted. This can make you an easy target.
Always follow your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, trust your instincts. Stay alert, and be aware of your surroundings at all time.
Lastly, if you decide to forego the crowded malls this season in favor of internet shopping safety should still be a priority. Make sure your computer has up to date security software. Don’t verify anything through pesky pop ups, no reputable company will ask you to verify anything in a pop up. Only shop from the stores you know, their sites are usually secure and you can always check by looking for a padlock on the site and the site address should be https: when you check out. Instead of using your credit card use google wallet, paypal, or talk to your credit card company about a single use credit card number for online shopping.