Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – Lancaster Station
“Black Friday” deals are upon us now! Most business are offering shoppers major sales early, and not waiting until after Thanksgiving. This means, shoppers will be out in full force this weekend…. And so will thieves.
Lancaster Station has a few tips to help you shop safely while getting those great holiday bargains throughout the shopping season.
1. Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car. If your hands are full, not only could someone run up and snatch a bag out of your already full hands, but you are also not in a position to defend yourself.
2. Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
3. Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front pant pocket. “Crossbody” style purses are a great option whereas backpacks are not. Anyone behind you could easily unzip your backpack and take your contents out.
4. Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in. Be aware of your surroundings! As you load up your packages into the trunk, a would be car thief could jump in the front seat and take off, possibly with your child in their car seat. Be aware, be alert and never leave your child unattended in the car.
5. If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.
6. If you are shopping with kids, keep your eye on the clock and limit your shopping time. We’ve all seen it, the flustered parent with the toddler who finally has had it and has a meltdown. While your little one is licking the windows, rolling on the ground or running through clothes rack, you may be distracted. Distracted, overwhelmed parents make for great targets. While you’re chasing your little one, a would be thief could easily steal your unattended purse or packages.
7. Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
8. Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
9. Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as one-time or multi-use disposable credit cards. While cash is a good option to minimize the chances of credit card theft or fraud, don’t carry all of your cash in the same pocket. You don’t want to be pulling out wads of cash all at once. Instead, keep small denominations in different pockets and only take out what you need.
10. Expect long lines as most businesses are limiting the amount of shoppers allowed inside at once. Please keep in mind that you may be asked to wear a mask at certain establishments. If a retailer requires you to wear a mask and you don’t want to, feel free to shop online or take your business elsewhere. PLEASE be kind and respectful to employees, cashiers and retail workers.
Take your time, stay vigilant and enjoy the holiday season!