It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But not everything is merry and bright. Some of it is sketchy and dark. Follow these 5 holiday shopping security tips to stay safe and have fun this holiday season.
1) Bags, Bags, Bags
When you walk out of the mall with 5 bags tucked under your arms, you’ll look distracted and unable to defend yourself from a quick push and grab. All of your hands tied up will make you a soft target for opportunistic robbers. Before you exit the mall, consolidate all of your bags and make sure your wallet is tucked away securely. You may also want to consider getting a big, generic shopping bag (think a blue IKEA bag) to put all of your bags into that one bag. This will free up your hands and minimize your distractions.
2) Safe Payment Options
When shopping you are never guaranteed that your information will be kept safe. Even major retailers like Target and Home Depot can be hacked. So the best route to safe shopping is using a credit card. Using a debit card can expose you to losing your entire checking account. I also recommend ApplePay.
It is a more secure way to access your credit cards. Also when at the checkout counter, you don’t have to hand over your phone as you would a normal card. Paypal is another great, secure option.
3) Don’t Use Public Wi-fi
Many of us like to compare prices before we check out at stores. If at all possible use your carrier data to buy something on your phone if you’re out and about. Don’t risk using public wi-fi with a credit card transaction. Hackers can use unsecured public wi-fi to get your information. Worse they can send their own wi-fi signal, name it something that sounds legitimate and steal your information faster. Use your home network or carrier data when purchasing from your phone, all year long.
4) In the Parking Lot
When you are blitzing from store to store, mall to mall make sure you are moving your shopping bags where they cannot be seen. Thieves looking for a quick score will look in car windows to see what sort of bags are lying in plain site. They will then prioritize which car has the best high end bags inside and smash the window. It’s best to put shopping bags in your car’s trunk or SUV’s cargo area. If you own a truck, never store your shopping bags in the open bed. Also remember to lock your car doors.
5) Package Protection
I’ve had a UPS package stolen off of my doorstep before. It’s not fun. If you can’t be there to get your packages when they arrive, consider a second address. Your boss may allow you to have packages sent to your office. That way you can make sure they are secure. For more ways to keep your packages safe, read Secure Dad 101: Secure Deliveries.
Soon I’ll be sharing holiday home security tips. These are important! Make sure you get it by signing up for The Secure Dad Newsletter.