Nov 10, 2018
Black Friday shopping has made the news a time or two thanks to the frenzy it often spurs. It’s a prime time for theft and it can bring out the worst in other shoppers, so, just like any applicable circumstance where your safety is at risk, we’d like you to err on the side of caution.
In this week’s blog, we’ll provide some guidelines and strategies to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for you, your wallet and your identity! Check out these do’s and don'ts before heading out this Black Friday (officially November 23rd this year but often beginning on Thanksgiving Thursday for many retailers).
- Keep your purse zipped and with you at all times.
- Keep your wallet close, and your credit cards closer.
- Stick to using just one credit card - you’ll be better off in the event of a credit card breach plus it’s easier to cancel just one card if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.
- Save all receipts and watch your accounts closely.
- Keep your kids nearby and designate a meeting point should you get separated. Be sure they have memorized your mobile number.
- Park in a well-lit space and look in and around your vehicle before getting in.
- Keep your shopping bags hidden in the trunk when going from store to store.
In addition to the above tips, consider freezing your credit with the top three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This means that nobody can pull your credit report and no new accounts can be opened until you unfreeze (or thaw) your accounts (using a PIN selected by you), even if they have your identifying information.
Clark Howard and other financial gurus have strongly recommended this step since the Equifax breach back in July of this year. In the past, freezing credit was an option only available to victims of identity theft, but now for a small fee, consumers can take matters into their own hands and freeze their credit (which will not affect any current or open accounts). Credit freeze instructions for the three primary credit reporting agencies can be found here.
- Leave loose cash or credit cards in your pockets.
- Bring cash.
- Shop alone.
- Shop in stores that don’t have security guards on-site.
- Present your method of payment until it’s time to pay.
- Enter a store frantically with a herd of people.
- Argue over the last sale item on the shelf - there will be others.
- Use credit cards that are connected to any of your bank accounts.
- Leave the store without getting your keys out and in-hand.
- Skip meals - be sure to eat and hydrate for a long day (or night) of retail therapy!
Last year, nearly 100 million people shopped on Black Friday. It’s not far-fetched to expect chaos and theft with numbers like that. Protect yourself against common threats by being aware of them. As always, contact us for more information on personal safety and look for our Cyber Monday online shopping tips next week!