Post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganzas – a few safety tips

After Thanksgiving sale

Once upon a time, we all celebrated Thanksgiving, watched a few football games and had a leisurely post-holiday weekend. Now it’s a shop-til-you-drop extravaganza that extends over 5 or 6 days – yikes!  We offer a rundown with some consumer safety tips.

Black Friday – The day after Thanksgiving is either a shopper’s paradise or a total retail nightmare, depending on your competitive shopping appetite. And check your stores – Black Friday may start on Thanksgiving Day itself at some of the nation’s biggest box stores. (Some naysayers call this “Grey Thursday).

Small Business Saturday – Go Local! – Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to support local “real world” businesses – the small, local shops, stores and businesses in your neighborhood or town.

Cyber Monday – Shop and get good deals online! But don’t let your guard down in the pursuit of good deals – cyber criminals will be out in full force.

Giving Tuesday – #GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Here are some “real world” shopping tips

  • Keep packages out of site in your car. Lock them in your trunk and keep car doors locked
  • Be aware of your purse and wallet at all times – pickpockets love crowds. If you can, avoid a purse or wallet entirely and store phone, cash, credit cards and IDs in a secure inner pocket.
  • Carry only the money and credit cards you need. Don’t flash cash.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Thieves and con-artists specialize in distraction techniques.
  • Don’t overload yourself with packages and impair your awareness, mobility or vision – take some to the car.
  • Remember where you parked your car. Have your keys ready and be alert for strangers when you approach it.
  • Shop with a friend or family member, particularly at night. There’s safety in numbers.

Here are a few safe online shopping tips:

  • Update your web security, anti-virus and malware detection programs snf be sure your firewall is on.
  • Watch out for email phishing offers, the spoofed mails look authentic. Don’t click the link, type in the website.
  • Purchase only in a secure environment – check for “https” in the address in your web browser – the “s” stands for “secure” – never conduct a transaction without it.
  • Public Wi-Fi is not secure so avoid doing banking and transactions that would expose your credit cards, passwords, or personal info.
  • Update your passwords before shopping. Create unique passwords for each site – here are some tips for creating secure passwords.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for “free” gift offers and contests from unknown sites. Don’t give away any personal information or credit card numbers to anyone you don’t know.