13 Nov Security Tips for Shopping Black Friday
Holiday deals start the season off early with nationwide Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts. Whether you’re shopping from the comfort of home or you brave the crowds at your local retailers, crime and theft are highest during the holidays. Since hackers probably didn’t make your Christmas list, take the necessary precautions this season to keep your finances secure. While shopping online and in-store are generally safe and worry-free, you can become an unwitting victim of crime. A few simple practices can help keep you secure on Black Friday.
Traffic is particularly heavy on Black Friday as shoppers rush to local malls and stores to score the best holiday deals. Many shoppers wake up early or forgo a night of sleep all together in order to be the first through the door. Sleep-deprived and distracted drivers traveling during inclement weather is a recipe for disaster. Parking lots are also crowded with people in a rush to find a space or leave the mall. Never sacrifice safety for speed: drive carefully on interstates and highways while watching for pedestrians. Always back slowly out of parking spaces. Children on their holiday break from school are especially easy to miss when in a dark parking lot.
Be aware of your surroundings
Crowded shopping malls, impatient or angry customers, and an increased risk of theft are three factors you should remain alert for while shopping on Black Friday. By remaining aware of the people around you, you can drastically reduce your chances of becoming a victim. When shopping at multiple stores, hide all previous purchases in your trunk to lower a criminal’s incentive to break into your car. When leaving a store, avoid dimly-lit parking lots and keep an eye out for suspicious people who may be waiting nearby to rob you.
To avoid becoming the victim of credit card theft, you may want to consider paying with cash whenever possible. However, carrying lots of cash can make your purse or wallet a prime target for theft. If your cash is stolen, it is nearly impossible to recover. Save cash for small purchases, and use one closely-monitored debit or credit card for larger items. Always save your receipts in case you need to dispute a fraudulent charge.
Enable credit card alerts
If your physical credit or debit card is stolen, you are aware of the crime almost immediately. Stealing a credit card number is a more insidious way of hacking your financial information. You can set up an alert system with your credit card company that will notify you via SMS and email if someone makes a purchase with your card’s number without physically scanning it. You can establish minimum and maximum limits on your card which will cause it to decline if someone tries to use the number without scanning the card. This can help prevent a thief from spending thousands of dollars before you even realize the card has been compromised.
At the Bank of the Lowcountry, we want your holidays to be safe and enjoyable. If you need help with holiday expenses, sign up today for a debit or credit card. To talk with an experienced representative about your financial needs, give us a call at (843) 549-2265.