While the holidays are a time for reflection, relaxation, and celebration – they also can be filled with distractions – which can be costly in more ways than one. Citizens frequently let down their guards – and as we inch closer to our shopping deadlines, safety is often sacrificed for speed. To avoid the unfortunate safety threats relating to holiday shopping, the P4 Companies are offering some tips to keep you safe and secure this holiday season.
As with so many other events and happenings in 2020, holiday shopping has a different look and feel this year. While many shoppers are choosing to swap brick and mortar for click-and-ship, there are still those who prefer the traditional shopping experience, albeit with a mask. Here’s what you need to know to shop smart and safe, in-store:
- Park in well-lit locations close to your destination; be sure to lock packages in the trunk (and out of sight).
- Keep your car keys handy and lock your doors as soon as you are inside the vehicle.
- Carry your purse close to your body or across one shoulder, and keep your wallet in a zippered pocket.
- Report suspicious activity or unattended packages to store/mall security or to law enforcement, staying vigilant and aware of your surroundings – ‘If you see something, say something’.
- Reduce the risk of your bank account being hacked by paying with cash or a credit card – rather than with a check or debit card.
- Keep all receipts and compare them to monthly statements. If paying by debit, always review receipts to ensure transactions are correct.
Vigilance should be maintained even if shopping online. Keep your cyber information secure by maintaining your ‘wealth health’ when visiting the World-Wide Mall.
- Protect your device with anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- Beware of ‘phishing’ scams, which lead shoppers to false websites that exist to collect/steal data. If a deal seems too good to pass up, enter the website name in a search engine before taking the bait.
- Lock your devices with a password or code to keep your information secure.
- Make sure your apps are downloaded from trusted sources and be sure to read through the ‘permissions’ to determine if they make sense.
- Shop online from a secure network connection such as in a home or office. Public Wi-Fi can be easily hacked.
- Download security apps, which can be vital for protecting devices and personal information.
In addition to staying safe while shopping, also be mindful of your safety at work and at home. The holidays are a prime time for those looking to take advantage of late nights at the office or homes full of newly purchased gifts. Install lights around your home, park in well list spots when leaving work late, and arrange for delivered packages to be picked up at an alternate location – or ask a neighbor to hold them for you until you get home. December is also the leading month for home fires, so be sure holiday lights are properly wired, smoke and CO2 detectors are working, and fire extinguishers are handy. By approaching the days and weeks ahead with a focus on safety, you can help to ensure your holidays will be happy, healthy, and secure. For more information about the P4 Companies visit p4secure.com and p4protective.com.